by Stephanie Valente

 

Dad’s girlfriend lets us stay up late. Dad’s girlfriend takes us to the mall and drops us off two blocks early. She never waits. Dad’s girlfriend bought us dark blue nail polish for our birthday. It sparkles. Mom hates it.


Dad’s girlfriend is named Shelly. Dad’s girlfriend told us to always watch our drinks at college parties. Dad’s girlfriend says Venice Beach is better than New York, but they can’t make bagels for shit. Dad’s girlfriend has a tattoo. It’s not her astrological sign. Dad’s girlfriend smokes menthols on the patio and cries. We like the way Dad’s girlfriend’s tears get stuck in her eyelashes. We pretend not to watch.

 

Dad’s girlfriend doesn’t mind when we mess up and call her mom. But, she doesn’t smile. Dad’s girlfriend told our chem teacher to go fuck herself. Dad’s girlfriend signs her name with a big S. She has a degree in philosophy and psych. Dad’s girlfriend still shoplifts lipstick from CVS. Dad’s girlfriend says corporations are corrupt. Dad’s girlfriend told us to have a sweet sixteen just to get a lot of money from Aunt Linda. Dad’s girlfriend says we should get a record player. We ask if that means we can jump on the bed and watch Sixteen Candles. Dad’s girlfriend doesn’t answer.

 

Dad’s girlfriend lights another cigarette. Dad’s girlfriend hides a bruise on her thigh. Dad’s girlfriend leaves black lingerie in the den. Dad’s girlfriend forgets to wear a watch. Dad’s girlfriend says Daddy late at night in the bedroom.

 

Dad’s girlfriend opened a portal to hell once. She says purple demons are the hardest to get rid of. Dad’s girlfriend tells us one drops by the house sometimes, but only once every other fortnight. Mom says Dad’s girlfriend is full of shit and we should only worry about werewolves, not to walk home alone at night, and to always lock the top lock. Dad’s girlfriend gives us pepper spray and reminds us to tell the werewolves to suck it.

 

Dad’s girlfriend says the demons are worse because they can mimic your voice. We hear Dad’s girlfriend by Lover’s Rock on Friday night. Dad’s girlfriend says, “Come closer.” We didn’t listen. Just like she said. Half the football team hears Dad’s girlfriend at Lover’s Rock. The sheriff finds entrails and left feet on Monday morning.


Dad’s girlfriend says she’s not talking to no cops. Dad’s girlfriend is cool. Dad’s girlfriend doesn’t care what you think.

 

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Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and waiting for the end of the world (Bottlecap Press, forthcoming 2017) and has work included in Susan, TL;DR, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Sometimes, she feels human. http://stephanievalente.com

 

 

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