Nonfiction from K Chiucarello

Photo: Pavan Trikutam

Gossip Line

I ring Taylor and tell her about the threesome last night, a spontaneous combustion of loose alcohol and not enough talking, desire fingering its way through cotton cloth. In the morning I wake to weed wafting from the steps, John dangling under peaks of sunlight, shouting Mets statistics between neighbors who took first breaths within Queens hospital walls. We go to the karaoke bar and for forty-five minutes debate the possibility of committing to Emotional Rescue, rehearsing a Jagger drawl, repeating lyrics back to one another before the highlight scroll begins for public expenditure. Kelsea and I meet at the restaurant that only serves roasted chicken and a white sauce sold separately. We order dark leg drippings, dialogue sliding all over the table’s honeyed light.

There is a silence on my block that I cannot emulate when the sun goes down. I step outside during what some still call work hours and an ambulance siren is steadily harmonizing with the birds, a singsong of meat tenderized down to chewing proportions. The same Queens hospital is filled with family members now recalling lifetimes alone; John is stranded in Florida. What did we even talk about before this? How did spaces cradle our bodies with their slow consumption for lineage? I begin a diary of quips I would have had in person, fodder I write down to bring up again when we can argue about anchovy to sake ratios for winning marinade recipes. We’ll stand in the middle of the F train headed downtown towards Brooklyn, ping-ponging about a crush I took stock in for six whole days, you talking of the email your father sent you via LinkedIn. A teenage couple makes out across from us, toppling the patched orange seating. I take my diary and read our parts aloud for comfort, languish to a land of definitive time before. Quartered seasons were on track rather than blurring into a trickling whitewash of 24-hour frames ending in -day. Words were pointed then in a direction that is besides my own. Now the only thing living in my sandwiches are pauses and halts that stack thick through a dizzied digital Internet exchange, unwelcomed dividends shoved into forced isolation.

I talk to April about March, tell her what it was like to witness strangers and sit on stoops placating with bubblegum and beer. April tells me we can pour one out for the winter months. I ring Taylor and I give her the gossip. I say: I’m reading to you tonight from a horror book, simple dialogue, lonesome characters, unpredictable plot. I’ll spoon feed this to you until the book fills again with dimpled radio waves and checkered blankets.
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K Chiucarello is a queer non-binary writer and editor living in the Hudson Valley. Their current and forthcoming work can be found in Trampset, XRAY Lit, Longleaf Review, .them, Lammergeier and others. They are a contributing short fiction editor at Barren Magazine and a flash reader for Fractured Lit. Twitter quips on gender and writing can be found @_kc_kc_kc_.

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