And no one will notice. This is a good outfit. Stylish.
Fits in, yet says, individual. Grownup, but youthful.
You might wear it again, and again. Why not wear
this but stop drinking. Why not wear the same thing
and burn Facebook. Except it’s not a real book. So
delete it, and imagine the ash and stink. Imagine.
What if you read books everyone else is reading.
That’s real, but good, and words between friends
make connections. You could even write words in this
outfit. Small words written consistently become small
books. The same clothes may not win you any prizes
or put you on top ten lists, but you will win smaller
awards, be known in smaller circles, people love you
there. What is winning about anyway this is a
good outfit. Shows your length, slim lines, colors that
compliment. This is not an outfit inspiring hate mail
or internet bullying. You don’t want that. No one
takes time to cut tiny letters from newspapers, glue
them to paper and rage, rage for this outfit. Most
people can’t even find their scissors. This outfit does
not arrive enthusiastic, overstuffed marked Postage
Due. Who pays that anyway? You could wear this
outfit to work, if you had a job, then to Mass. It will
hold faith between the last button and frayed
hemline. This look says transparency. You’re not
hiding anything, except honesty. Truth is not
trending. You can wear this outfit with confidence
knowing no one knows you at all that no one will
notice you are not talking just open and close your
mouth, Charlie McCarthy style. Now nod. Laughing
comforts most people as do pastels. This outfit is
perfect, except maybe lose the last ten pounds you
have so wanted to part with, and stop being mad at
your father. Call your mother more often and you
would not need Xanax to combat nightfall. You could
sleep in this outfit, for eight hours straight, or the rest
of your life, or right up until you put a gun in your
mouth. Try the orange & gold sandals if you want to
shake it up, but leave the rest the same. Do that and
take the CTA instead of driving or better yet, walk.
Keep walking. Past the place you expect yourself to
stop. Walk until you fall asleep on your own fatigue,
walk past the cemetery of dead iPhones, cracked
screen bones protruding. Remember when friends
had whole conversations without looking at their
hands, never checking to see if they still matter to
people they don’t care about. Remember Play-Doh?
This outfit will not help you solve those problems or
any problems, or remember those times. For that you
Amy Sayre Baptista’s writing has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Butter, Alaska Quarterly Review, Sou’wester, LUNA LUNA, and other journals. She is a SAFTA fellow (2015), a CantoMundo fellow (2013), and a scholarship recipient to the Disquiet Literary Festival in Lisbon, Portugal (2011). She performs with Kale Soup for the Soul, a Portuguese-American artists collective, and is a co-founder of Plates&Poetry, a community table program focused on food and writing. She has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Lead image: “Eye change” (via Flickr user Sarah)