Reading Kinfolk Magazine on Your Front Step at Twilight by Stefani Tran


Daydream by Sammy Slabbinck
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Reading Kinfolk Magazine on Your Front Step at Twilight

So much white space. And text that only the mosquitoes
could read. We knotted leafy stems into our hair, dribbled

wax into empty glass jars—after scooping out the sardines
—just for the occasion, but the wicks keep guttering out

and also our apple pie (no rhubarbs at the supermarket
in this country) caved in the center. So we sit spooning

it hot out of the pan—me stickily turning pages on pottery,
wasabi farmers and suspiciously well-dressed gypsies. You,

maypoling a cigarette with your fingers—your newest hobby.
I think it is too ugly for you but I don’t know

what to say. In high school, you were quiet. You skipped class, read
Camus, cried in the stalls with your feet up. God, I loved you then.

Now I pretend I’m studying the photos, even if we both know
it’s impossible in this dark. There’s a white girl with red hair

on a train, her back to the camera, face erased by sun. I don’t know
how I know she’s white. You haven’t finished your wine,

you say. This afternoon you taught me how to drink it,
there at your kitchen counter with the sweat laced

over our shoulders, your cheekbones high and golden. Pocket
and swirl and then let it slide back.
It’s supposed to taste like oak,

I think, or butter—but all I get is sour, and the sick feeling
I’m too young. You scratch your knee. This quiet is sickening.

Later you’ll take a blurry picture of me huddled in my chair
and Instagram it, captioned life the way

it was meant to be, hashtag keeping it real. Blue smoke
slips through your lips, and I look past the gate and imagine

we are seeing the door of some tangly forest,
or hills coated in mist, or a rock pool where

at low tide, we can pluck oysters
from the sea’s open mouth.

When really there is only the house across the street.
And the next, and the next, and I watch the lights come on.




Stefani Tran

Stefani Tran has a BFA in Creative Writing and does not enjoy waiting for the microwave to beep. Stefani Tran is roughly in her 20s and Vietnamese-Filipino, but listens devoutly to Irish music. Stefani Tran likes putting things on index cards, and will never say no to gift certificates for a bookstore near her.