Plastic · Gloria Mindock

X was only two months sober and was telling everyone he had a date. Despite being told to concentrate on his sobriety and not women, he would not listen. The next day, he said they went out for dinner. Afterwards, she invited him to her place for coffee. When they walked into her apartment, there were dolls sitting at the kitchen table, on the couch, in the bedroom, and even on the toilet. Doll eyes watching him. Creepy. He left.

We all teased him and said he should have kissed a doll. There would be no heart beating. All he would have to do is keep his lips closed. Then there would be no feelings.

X was sitting in the car with his date, about ready to go to dinner when she said, “wait! I have to wrap my head up in tin foil! It is important for me to communicate with the aliens.” X looked at her in disbelief. He took the tin foil box from her and wrapped his head up with it, waiting for a miracle.

It has been awhile since X went out on a date. He sat in the car with her as she smacked her gums and then stuck the chewing gum on the dashboard. Then she dug out her lipstick from her purse. X was still focusing on her gum on the dashboard. He looked around her car more closely and saw gum stuck all over the place. He felt a knot in his stomach and was disgusted, got out of the car without saying a word. About a block later, as he was thinking, he reached in his pocket and unwrapped a piece of gum and chewed…

The sirens were going off. X knew it was time to get out. His heart was beating quickly. X was scared he would not make it. Heavy black smoke was filling the apartment up. He jumped and realized it was just a dream. Next to him was a woman, young and very pretty. His heart smoldered… He thought, what did I do to deserve such a thing. Just then, a fireman knocked down the door and resuscitated him. There was no girl. Just a firehose through the broken window. Sometimes X, a flame is just a flame.

Gloria Mindock is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, I Wish Francisco Franco Would Love Me (Nixes Mate books, 2018). She is the founding editor of Cervena Barva Press and one of the USA editors for Levure Litteraire (France). Widely published in the USA and abroad, her poetry has been translated and published into the Romanian, Croation, Serbian, Montenegrin, Spanish, Estonian, and French. Gloria has been published in numerous literary journals including Gargoyle, Web Del Sol, Constellations: A Journal of Poetry and Fiction, Muddy River Poetry Review, Unlikely Stories and Nixes Mate Review Anthology. She was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018.