Speedway Creamer

Jake Fournier

Take it to the bathroom and

put it in your pocket. Come back

and pay for it. What about some

butter? Your conscience

likes the stimulus. It saddles

your fib in velvet,

breaks it. Now you squirm

when you sit. Supernatural

stillness buried in your

laughter, discoordinated

gestures, you switch off

every fan in the earthship and

drive to the throbbing core, back

to the labor ward. A woman, non

compos, clutches at

your ear as you press

her ruptured uterus. Has she

come down from the meth? Can

she consent? Your stitching draws

a compliment—“At least

you’re consistent”—from a

resident. “Fucking

sidewalk people,” says the

woman’s father. “Sure as hell

ain’t living with me.” At the

back of your mind where

your spirit hangs down like

a uvula, you

swallow him alive. Maybe

that’s why when you’re

waking up at 3, all you can think

is, “I need coffee and a dick

in me.” The cretin that

becomes us when we titter

at the homeless lunging

for the car or crushing

industrial caulk into the street, that

giddy feeling of

absurdity and sorrow, is what

guides you to the

suffering. You’re like a

dowser’s rod jerking

to an underwater

stream. “What’s

the point of this?” you

think. Break down crying. Four

hours later, purple as

a bishop’s robes and light

as fluorescence, the baby’s

in your hands. You lay her

on her mother’s chest. A noise

like icicles crashing on a

plastic drum catches in

her throat. A moment

of quiet, then the

attending leaves to check her

messages. The placenta

almost radiates as the scrub

nurse eases it into a

gleaming, clear container.

Jake Fournier is a poet and scholar who lives in Albuquerque, NM. His poetry has appeared recently in Lana Turner, Annulet, and Partisan Hotel. He researches abolitionist poetry, and his scholarship can be found in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture.
Originally published:
September 18, 2023



Life in the Algorithm

It has reshaped culture—but how? Two new books reckon with our digital predicament.
Anna Shechtman

The Night Watch

I first sought sanctuary during the Troubles. I'm still looking for it.
Darran Anderson

Why I Write

The legendary cultural critic on finding a life’s work
Greil Marcus

You Might Also Like

Quick Recovery

Jake Fournier

A Long Time Ago Some King Died,

Heo Su-gyeong
translated by Soje


New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.