ANDREA’S POEM

Andrea, I want to fuck you as hard as you make my screwdrivers.

Andrea, I promised my friends I’d write you a poem that began exactly that way.

Andrea, I’d say that I was drunk when I promised, but we both know I’m never drunk, except for that one time at McDonald’s, all 220lbs of me trapped behind a sink. I drank three red Solo cups full of Burnett’s Fruit Punch Vodka, which I thought was mainly fruit punch and not pure vodka.

Andrea, that was my mistake.

Andrea, with you I always know what I’m getting.

Andrea, you know I need at least six shots to dance.

Andrea, it’s only shame I’m afraid I’ll die of.

Andrea, remember the way Simple Man played twice in a row on the jukebox, and the whole bar broke out into a brawl?

Andrea, there is still blood on the pool table.

Andrea, you cleaned the blood from the floor with a mop.

Andrea, when that fight broke out, I couldn’t tell you how at home I felt. I was on my fifth screwdriver with my head pressed against the window, and cigarette smoke was everywhere in the bar, and outside the bar, it was snowing.

Andrea, I’ll confess: Sometimes, I play Simple Man on the jukebox now just to see what will happen.

Andrea, I should have broken up that fight for you. I could have done it—I’m good at breaking up fights. But something in me just likes to watch people pummel each other.

Andrea, I’m no good at being a hero in the way women get to be heroes. Take the way when there were no stall doors in the women’s bathroom because some meth-head had kicked them all down, Bobbi Jo stood in the middle stall with her arms and legs outstretched and her back to you so that you could piss in semi-privacy.

Andrea, I’m not capable of that kind of grace.

Andrea, once I was talking to Kara and Lauren about Of Mice and Men in a room that looked like the afterbirth of the 1970s with its beaded curtains, its orange shag carpet, and Lauren shouted, “We are all Lennie!” and Kara nodded and I snapped, “I’m not fucking Lennie, I’m George.”

Meaning, Andrea, I can do the necessary thing.

Andrea, I am always doing the necessary thing.

Andrea, the necessary thing is one day a guy gave me a black eye and the next day I was at the store, buying him a brick of fine European chocolate.

Andrea, the necessary thing is the way when there is no bouncer at the bar, you keep pouring drinks for all the men no matter how drunk or how crass or how loud.

Andrea, the point of Of Mice and Men is Curley’s wife was a slut so whatever she got she deserved it.

Andrea, in so many men’s hands, the point of any woman’s life is maybe she deserved it.

Andrea, let’s be saints together.

Andrea, let’s rent a cabin in the White Mountains and go deer hunting, but every time we see a doe in the crosshairs, we’ll just look away.

Andrea, we can settle into a life there, in a sleepy New England town, maybe near a railroad. Our house will always be shuddering because of the trains, our pictures always tilting on the walls. It will always be autumn, and you can still tend bar, not in a dark and smoky bar with orange juice that comes from a hose, but somewhere full of daylight, where customers coordinate their outfits and are too polite to finish even their side salads. I’ll do something practical, like work in a post office or a mill, wear cardigans.

Andrea, let’s adopt a pair of female dogs with ridiculous human names and call them bitches.

Andrea, let’s reclaim the word bitch.

Andrea, let’s talk about the weather.

Andrea, let’s read smut.

Andrea, let’s wear headbands and bright cotton dresses and listen to Taylor Swift and buy watermelon lip balm and Tylenol for twenty-five cents apiece from the vending machine in the bar bathroom.

Andrea, let’s be young.

Andrea, let’s build altars out of tampons, talk about separatist feminism in earshot of anyone it will scare the most.

Andrea, fuck men.

Andrea, don’t fuck men.

Andrea, fuck whoever you want.

Andrea, I’m trying to be more polite.

Andrea, let’s eat paczki and cold beet soup until our mouths run sweet and red.


Audrey Gradzewicz was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. When not escaping from cults, she is often found using cat videos to teach psychoanalytic theory or singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” unironically on the Greyhound. She is currently a third-year poet in the MFA program at Purdue University.

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