Dream Girl

by Sara Moore Wagner

Sara Moore Wagner

In the break room, he blew a smoke ring
so round and big it carried us out
of the gas station where he’d stack all the creamers
into little castles. He could touch
everything and no one would care, could run
his finger over each pop bottle until he found
just the one he wanted: Dr. Pepper or something
more nostalgic like RC Cola, could stand right
next to a gas pump with a hand rolled cigarette
in his lips. One day we both got out,
rode an exhalation. Across that great circle,
I reached for him and fell into the world
just when he wasn’t looking. He fiddled so much
with the buttons on my sweater, they broke off
in his hand. I was unloosed and choking,
I bought Marlboro Lights to spite him, kept smacking
off the last threads that tied me to the room
where he chose who I’d be: mopping the sticky floor
while he sat watching, telling me how to wear
my hair and which parts of it had gone straight.
I pretended to like Led Zeppelin because it was on
and he liked it, because it was something his father
never liked. In kinetic theory, the continual encountering
of the other makes the particle change direction. All
I ever wanted to do was study movement, be moving
beyond him. I was, a starveling, sweeping gum wrappers
into the sky. This is my chance to learn why
I always was that girl, outlining that man, outlying.

Last updated September 19, 2022