Shanti Weiland

Fantasy Cheryl

Fantasy Cheryl pretends
she’s drunk, takes off
her top and
pants like a dog.

She tells me, Ssshhhh.
Don’t worry about
it. You’re great.

Fantasy Cheryl rubs my
shoulders and says she gets
me. She wears cheetah
velour and acts like
my mom, lounging
on the sofa.

One day, Fantasy Cheryl cries
and I hold her bird-thin
arms. I get her
in a vague way. I tell
her so.

Our ship maroons and
Fantasy Cheryl is my
rock. Waves crash against
her solid form in a storm
that feels like all
the others.

Fantasy Cheryl is an old
woman and knows things that I
cannot know. I know that
I am young. She knows that.
And time.

Fantasy Cheryl fucked
my roommate, and that’s
how I said it, even though I
meant to say, favored.

Fantasy Cheryl. Me.
A deserted island.
We work some shit out.

Coconuts and a million
other things ruin my
resolve. I love what I want
from her. She’d love me
to leave it.

I have her petting
strays and calling me
baby. She’s shorn
her head. I rub
the prickles.

I push her down,
she picks me up,
like the tide and
the sand. Like boxers
without gravity.

I see her in the
streets. Not
Fantasy Cheryl, but
the real one. Who
knows what her
deal is? We dance
an awkward waltz
past the buttercups.

Fantasy Cheryl drops my pen.
Fantasy Cheryl picks it up.
She’s gorgeous, like
death in the sunlight.
The shadows. The fucking.
A rosebush claims
the porch.