Winter 02






Pretend that the bathroom floor needs scrubbing. Pretend that the furniture needs to be rearranged. Pretend to examine the leaves of the ivy or the vine or whatever it is. Pretend there are brown spots and pretend to be concerned. Pretend to like the mustard wallpaper that was pasted on by the tenant before. Pretend to look forward to sitcoms. Pretend to look forward to anything. Pretend to plan a dinner party. Pretend to throw it. Pretend to be interested in the Mapplethorpe book from the library. Talk about it to friends. Pretend to look for kick boxing classes in the paper. Pretend to get dressed in the morning and go to work. Pretend to give a shit about work. Pretend to walk tall and pretend to wiggle a little bit when passing men on the street. Pretend not to. Pretend the new brown boots don't hurt. Pretend nothing does. Get excited about Christmas. Get excited about sex. Dream about New York City and Vermont and Paris. Want to get married. Absolutely do not want to get married. Pretend not to have already named the kids. Two boys and a girl. Pretend to want an artistic life. Pretend to have one. Use words like brilliant and phenomenal. Pretend to know how to spell phenomenal on the first try. Know when to call movies films. Pretend not to miss home. Pretend to know where that is anymore. Pretend to feel okay about wearing slippers. Pretend not to be somewhat jealous of people on Paxil. Pretend to be sometimes attracted to women. Pretend not to be. Pretend to quit smoking. Pretend cigarettes don't look kinda cool. Pretend not to be psyched about having big breasts. Pretend to not be embarrassed when buying condoms and tampons. Pretend to save money for a trip to the southwest. Think the southwest is impressive. Talk casually about Manhattan. Talk disgustedly about the government. Pretend to listen to NPR and pretend to understand anything about anything. Pretend to be fine with the break-up. Pretend not to be a cheat. Pretend to know how to love and be loved. Pretend not to probably need therapy. Pretend to need therapy. Pretend to sweep the bedroom floor. Pretend it is clean.


Julianna Spallholz lives in upstate New York.