GAME SHOW by Ashley Farmer
Someone with tickets to a game show said oh. The man with tickets said be honest. Said: Midwestern Beauty, one of many.  My brand-new boots were white. When they wooed me stage-side, I lied. About my last name first. About my handshake last. About my legs and my laugh. I guessed the correct prices for batteries, surgeries, expressionless art collections. I guessed Otis Redding, I guessed Arlington, I guess I had something in my bag: a bottle, a cap, some rope, a brick, oh applause, the consequence of purple Jacarandas radiating in the Studio 10 parking lot. The sign said clap here now. They complied. It was timed. The sign said there’s so much more I want to say. I guessed Ajax, I guessed nine times nine. I guess your letter sank in my bag like a rock. Like porcelain, like a handful of song. Like the families eating dinner in silence and watery game show light. I guessed that night some men were nobodies in the nobody dark. Apologies for saying it like that, because they could breathe through masks and wander dust, and from that distance, the Earth might as well have been a shotgun wedding chapel. I guessed 1969. I guess my hand was a fist. I guessed “___”. I guess I had something in my eye like stage-light. I guessed it was summertime back home and picking strawberries and my bathing suit lost on the front lawn. I guessed Jacaranda, a genus. I wanted to say my records melted like tar on a road. I wanted to say I can blink and make the studio audience drown. I wanted to guess right. Someone gave me tickets to a game show. The sign said clap here now. They complied. I guess I guessed wrong. It was timed.


Ashley Farmer writes and teaches in Southern CA. Her work can be found in elimae, Faultline, Juked, The Progressive, and elsewhere.
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