How to be Sad

By Laura Read

You’ll be heavier in the mornings, waterlogged.

Don’t try to put on anything from the upside down

clean clothes basket. Just wear yesterday’s pants.

There’s no need to bring in the paper. Or sweep

the dead bees from the windowseat. When

the doctor asks for your pain number, stick

with 2—it’s best to leave everything as it was.

Wish again that you could live in that prefab

house you tour at the fair. It doesn’t matter

what it’s made of. You love the vacuum stripes

in the carpet, which is taupe, always difficult to

describe. There’s a plasma television,

a microfiber sectional, and in the kitchen plastic

steaks on each plate at the table, covered in fake

hollandaise sauce. After you eat, you’ll still have

dinner for tomorrow, and you can just

go to bed where there’s a book already chosen

for you on the woman’s side. Apparently, you like

romance. And if you’re not tired, the fair’s always

there. You love the ferris wheel, the funnel cakes,

and especially the goldfish man, but you never

thought you’d win one of those bags with the small

fish swimming inside it, his life hanging

in the balance of your hands. And there’s no bowl

back at the house. So you’ll have to stay up all

night holding him, in case he panics.

Laura Read has published poems most recently in The Sow’s Ear, Red Rock Review, Edgz, and Poet Lore, and has work forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review and Floating Bridge Review. She teaches writing and literature courses at Spokane Falls Community College.

Originally appeared in NOR 8.

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