Except We’re Both Dustin Hoffman

I kick your arm awake, say “all the geniuses are dying”

well wait 

were they geniuses before we found their journals, 

crude stick-figure drawings with the heads all blacked out. 

You don’t say it but your brain is trying to kill you

& I get nervous, sit in the jumping line of sunlight on your bedroom floor.

I’ve heard a lot about where you see things in rivers you can’t unsee 

& the only reason you’re best friends is because you both saw that body floating
downstream & promised not to talk about it.

You throw your pillow at me, say this isn’t funny because you’re serious,

ask me to tell you more.

I say I fell in love with it the way you fall in love with anything.

You say we’re old enough

to buy train tickets on our own, we could do that, we could

spot bodies in the river together all afternoon.

On our way to the train station you say 

“you ever feel like you’re watching your life happen

to someone else; you’re just watching it

and you’re not even that invested in the plot or the characters

but you can’t change the channel?”

We don’t have suitcases & we sit across from each other like 

well wait

have you seen The Graduate? 

You know how at the end

after Dustin Hoffman fights all those guys so he can get the girl

right after she kisses the boring groom  

and he runs out of the church holding her hand, and they’re laughing and sprinting, 

and they feel like they’ve finally done it right—

maybe he’s starting 

to fill the hole, the chest-wound that just kind of happens when you’re 20 

but then they’re sitting in the back of a crowded bus, her in a wedding dress,

him in his suit, and they’re grinning and laughing at first,

but then the adrenaline of the moment fades, and the novelty of the chase fades,

and they realize they don’t have anything in common and the movie

ends with them both staring straight at the camera looking as bored 

and uncertain as anyone who has just made a grand mistake.
 
 
 
And I look at you, and I ask if you’ve ever seen The Graduate,

and you say no.

I push my head against the window.

About Kate Monica

Kate Monica is a 20 year old college student in Connecticut. She's been published in Holey Scripture, theNewerYork, Control Literary Magazine, and Orchid Children. She was the recipient of the 2014 Collins Literary Prize. Follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

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