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Six Feet Apart

By Claire Elder

A man bent over and expelled his hot breath in my ear, if Johnny Cash was the man in black you must be his woman; his vulgar wink prompted a bile of discomfort and repulsion to climb and burn the back of my throat—if I wore red I would be too seductive, glitter a tramp, gold an ornament for his lap, lace a Victoria’s angel modeling lingerie, pink a Barbie with nice tits and the perfect size four waist, leopard print his feisty prey, leather his submissive to be bound and gagged, purple a jewel bought and kept in a box, white an innocent virgin, but black should be unapproachable because black is the color of mourning—I mourned my eighteenth birthday when it became legal; my mother mourned my adolescence after my first period; I mourned that night in the backseat of my high school boyfriend’s car after he couldn’t help himself; I mourn the moment when the man mistook black for a green light—when I turned away from him, I feared he would whisper in my ear that black means I should smile more; black means I’m easy; black means I'm a slut, and sluts don’t get boundaries.

Claire Elder currently attends Ohio University's Undergraduate Creative Writing Program and interns for New Ohio Review.


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