Volume 2 Number 1 • Spring 2010

Heather McNaugher


If, on the other hand, if on that day at noon, a Friday I think it was, I was 23, when I hopped up on that barstool — if you had told me I'd still be sitting there at four with a decision to make: to leave or not to leave, to quit now or have another, to quit now or have however many more I could fit into the next 45 minutes (make that 50, I'll walk fast because honestly, how much time does a girl need to mosey on down Pike Street to meet her girlfriend at five o'clock, roughly 40 minutes from now?).

If you had told me that this decision would become the line I'd cross, that this decision would become the story I'd tell about the line I crossed, that ten years later my story would go, Well, at 4:55 I still cared about people; at five I said fuck off. If you had shown me both sides of the line, given me a demonstration – said, Heath, on this side we have giving a shit about anybody, see, and on the other we have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on draught; on the Pike Street side of the line we have a red-head who loves you, who will, incidentally, become a model, and who is presently waiting for you at the corner of Pike and Pine, waiting for you right this second, waiting ... to take you home, the home you share, to love and touch and look lingeringly through you. On the Denny Way side of things, however, we have this cool, dark, clammy bar with its dark woods and empty dark amber light. Here we have the mirror and the TV with the sound turned off and in front of the mirror the bottles, a dewy metropolis of bottles, and in your pocket a credit card, and beneath your denim ass the coveted corner stool, the look-at-me-I'm-not-here-stool you're not likely ever to get again should you decide to leave, so many bottles bending in that mirror, above which ticks a clock. If you had told me that this would be my story I'd have said, another round please.

Heather McNaugher is a bicycle commuter and poet in Pittsburgh. She teaches at her alma mater, Chatham College, where she edits Fourth River. Her chapbook, Panic & Joy, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press.

top of page
to fiction
to poetry
to flash
to irregulars
to interview