Dead Leaves & Fast Food Grease

colins filling the bathtub with dead leaves again & their moist soul is seeping into abigails bedroom / her sternum rots with the leaves walls and tiles dont divide space enough to free abigails mind from the autumn slush of wet leaves decaying / when abigail shaves her face she sees colins clumped leaves in the bathtub jerking off their tangled stems & sopping leaf-rot-juice between the wooden struts that hold the second floor above the first / shes scared to ask her doctor about hormones shes gonna be a housewife one day no christian husband wants a housewife who shaves her face twice a day / when abigail leaves for the range colin sneaks in with another gummy handful of dead leaves their fingers porcelain pale grey with runny dirt dribbling where chlorophyll ghosts claw at veins with bloodlust intent to dissipate into soil-holds of an afterlife a leaf of sparkly-gold nail polish gently tugs on the air and lowers itself from colins thumb to suck face with a splotted drain / the leaves stay underfoot while colin showers / colin likes it when the putrid smell of rotting leaves & outdoor mould inside tugs at their cock & cradles their balls in the expected decay of everything that lives cuz everythings gotta fall foul eventually / abigail is yelling about colin to her bitchy bible study chorus girls & abigail uses masculine pronouns for colin who hears all of it in the bathtub steeping in the dead leaf fumes rubbing french fry fat grease from an a&w packet exclusively sold to fatty acid greasetrap fanatics when the ketchup dries crusty as gods tears for lucifers dangling on the underside of colins thighs they scream their genderqueer agenda loudly riding leaf-stench invading abigails fair rotted sternum & her close-caught steel gate brain / colin wants to be a housewife but abigail says they need to be he to be the working man that housewife unnamed spends all day preparing dinner for and raising children in lieu of but colin doesnt want any of that / abigail wants to be john wayne she rides horses she shoots well she delivers action when adventure wanes she doesnt actually hate her stubble but shes supposed to women dont have beards shes not a circus freak shes clint eastwood no no she isnt shes supposed to be a housewife she hates that colin wants to be a housewife so she hates him spews leaf-rot of soul-rot of bigotry long clumping coats her words in green ooze that melts colins skirts and dissolves they them pronouns in the residue of catholic priests post-orgy / with leaves practicing bondage knots in their billowing hair colin confronts abigail insisting she respect their gender identity & abigail tries to quote scripture but colins ready after all isnt god the original genderqueer tortured artist the leaves in gods bathtub make universies so colin & abigail both tear apart the bible pages to wipe tears tease out the stains of leaf fragments clogging every drain in every house in every scene everytime colin confronts abigail & she ignores the truth pumping in her systems in her body she shaves & she yells & she preaches & the leaves coagulate & colin stuffs more into the tub & colin cries & abigail pretends shes out on the range bursting tin can roses from half-peeled remnants of campbells soup labels & her horse with the slur for a name nibbles at grasses thankful for the dead leaf sludge that fed them when they were seedlings unseen by mother-eyes unsmelt by father-noses unfelt by parent-hearts / colin talks to their doctor & begins taking estrogen to feel themself again / abigail talks to her pastor & presents to her doctor & begins taking estrogen to make a desired housewife of herself / in the bathtub the leaves gurgle snacking on stubble-scree shaved from lost faces seeking comfort / colins at the door again with a bulging garbage bag of dead leaves spooned from gutters soaked & soggy & soppy & colin cant wait to bathe amongst the dead leaves & fast food grease again

Calum Robertson (they/them) is a full-time daydreamer & part-time tea-drinker from Calgary, Canada. They’ve written articles for the Gauntlet & the Christian Courier, & their poetry has appeared in nod, deathcap poetry, Tofu Ink Arts Press, Bourgeon Online Magazine & In Parentheses. They were once adopted by a flock of grouse for an evening.