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YOU HAVE BRAIN CANCER YOU HAVE BRAIN CANCER YOU HAVE

SOPHIE EWH

I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.

 

 

 

 

III.

brain cancer. You move back down to Florida. There’s no family, but there’s Pub subs to be eaten, marching shows to be seen, and women to be comforted. You didn’t tell George about anything. For all he knows, you’re in the Indian River like Gino’s wife. But you cashed out, bought a condo near the nuclear waste site, got a job at the diner up A1A. You wake up at 3am to put on your rockabilly attire—the headband, the cinched waist, the skull and roses. You wish there was someone to tie the halter neck, but it’s not worth the explanation. You managed to get your PT cruiser back. It still has roaches. After ten hours of pouring coffee and reapplying your warm-toned lip, you go home to the colony of beach cats you take care of. You feed your two house cats first. You miss the pigeons, but bird seed isn’t a good idea. After dinner, it’s birthday cake and green tea, a shag blanket, and a Pynchon. The hair curlers only take fifteen minutes now. 

 

 

 

*

 


You have ketamine. You have a jar of ketamine in your bag and a baggy in your wallet. You are in a taxi with enough ketamine in your wallet to cure the Great Depression. When you get home, instead of making out with the guy who fell asleep on your couch and keeps complimenting your shirts’ nipple outlines, you kick him out and take a bump. Before leaving, he tells you to flush it. You do a line, then another, then another. It’s like aspartame because you don’t like the taste but you can’t imagine being pretty without it. You’re kinder to George. You play with your cats more often. You keep cumming to the thought of your father, even when you don’t mean to. You see a lot of pigeons. Too many pigeons. Maybe more pigeons than there are in Manhattan? It takes a few years, but your kidneys kill themselves. It takes too long. You would have preferred an instant transfer. But at least you died in the city.

*


You don’t have brain cancer. And the ketamine is in someone else’s bag now. You’re sitting next to George at a Sparks concert fantasizing about the ways you can drop out of life without your mother blaming herself. Is it the concert? Can’t be. Your dad didn’t even listen to Sparks. You wonder what would have happened if your dad had brain cancer. Would he have explained brain cancer like he explained alcoholism: that god wouldn’t let him die until he wanted to die. You wonder when you’ll get home to your cats. You want to go get a mojito from the bar, but you’re in the middle of the row. You remember the time your sister offered a sip of her watermelon margarita and you vowed to never drink alcohol. Your sister told you that kind of thinking would turn you into an alcoholic. They’re playing a hit so you get up and dance. By the time you’re on the subway, you’re just thinking about the rice you have at home. Next month is the Beach Boys.
 

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Sophie Ewh is a writer and filmmaker, known by some as White Trash Freud and by others as a graduate of New York University's Creative Writing MFA. Her first dream was to make people laugh. But after developing an obsession with B-horror movies and mental breakdowns, she mostly just made them nauseous. They are the editor of 1.5 Million (2022), a documentary about bookstores in The Bronx, available now on YouTube and Hoopla. You can find their writing in Hobart Pulp, The Poetry Society of New York’s Spilt Milk, Mantis Journal, and Postscript Magazine.

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