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  • Writer's pictureErin Schallmoser

four hundred words on the future & fragrances & teeth by Savannah Gripshover

i know things are getting bad again when milk chocolate makes my teeth go jazzy, bone whimpering and dazzling in a waltz with the tongue swiping sweet. i’m trying my hardest to like the dupe of tom ford’s metallique my mom bought for me at christmas: it’s this violently cold and silvery scent, flashing images of a shiny edge of a scalpel and the ripeness of bright steel and the blur of vague vanilla clouding your mind with every hesitant spritz. it’s tangy and sour, glamorous and sharp. and i can’t like it as much as i want to. i want to do a lot of things. i want to tattoo a goose on my leg and take up three jobs. those things are set in motion – i’ll be different come this fall – but i want them now. i want to be busy. i want the swim and the drown. i want electricity bubbling frantic through my frankenstein frame. i want to ruin my life and bury my hands in black dirt, fishing for the shy little seed of a future something. i don’t know what i’d find besides the face-first slam of bronze, the scent of metal that orbits the rain-soaked earth. muddy feet and painted toenails. everything reminds me of something else and my teeth hurt, less jazzy now. i need to go to the dentist. i want to like my knockoff fragrance. i am a lot of things: in twenty weeks, i will be an aunt, and it makes me think of this story my mom tells us, about how grandpa bet on a horse with the same name as my brother. it dashed to the finish line, scattering dirt to the sky, securing the win. grandpa handed half the winnings to my brother, making him promise to save it. one day a little baby with my brother’s cloned face will waddle through a sea of people, watch as the knees of horses scream with energy, sit in a tangle of overall buttons and striped socks. odd little teeth will sprout from his mouth like quartz shooting free from wet cave walls. i can tell the baby about grandpa, about the poems i write about horses, about money – the wicked thing. i want to hold the baby in my lap and say to it what i wish someone would say to me: poor baby. poor, poor baby.

Savannah Gripshover is a writer and student living in Kentucky. Her work has previously appeared in Miniskirt Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Crab Apple Literary.

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