Buying Cigarettes from a Bodega on Bundy Street by Anthony Imm

The girl is pretty. Her badge reads Bianca.
          Bee. On. Ka. Rolls smoothly from
          my mouth like a ball-point pen on skin.
I think she only recently turned eighteen.
          Light blue eyes. Velvet hair, past
          her shoulder, stops right where her
          chest is. More maroon at the edges,
          thin edges. Smells like cotton, would
          taste like candy.
She is still innocent. Reminds me of Amy
          but less of a bitch, more of a darling,
          a bud who’ll only grow when surrounded
          by fertile soil. When caressed and loved by
          a father figure like me. I’m newly fifty-three.
She turns to grab the pack of cigarettes. I’m a magician
          with ten hands, twenty eyes, and fifty mouths.
          I holler at her so loud she winces, a 20-pack in
          her hand. I grab a pack of gum too.
          I imagine us together already.
I’m just a king with a hammer. I’m just a man with a habit.
          Please, find me someone to escape to. Someone
          who won’t scream at me. Who won’t try to escape.
          Just relax, and enjoy it. I’ll give everything: my body,
          my money, my time, my care, my love, my love, my lover
is this girl right now, Bianca. Bee. On. Ka.
          Younger than Amy, probably smarter too.
          I don’t even register hitting her, but she’s in the
          back of the car. The body’s in the back, her heartbeats
          erratic. God tells me she’s the one; I’m convinced
          every time.
Amy was her name. She rests at home right now
          covered in silk sheets, mummified by cellophane
          I imagine the breeze through the open window, her
          collarbones bruised like a peach. From afar, it looks
          like a hickey I would’ve given her, except it really was a
          bruise—she shouldn’t have fought back so hard.
          I guess I’ll throw her out.
I live down the avenue. My name is invisible to the crowd.
          My idol is dead but so am I.
          I live through these girls. I’ll live through
          Bianca. I’m sure her parents don’t mind.
I’ll treat her well, I promise to them, hands steady on the wheel.


About the Author

Anthony Imm is currently a senior at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. His writing has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and various other competitions. Over this past summer, he attended the 92NY Young Writers Workshop in New York City. In his spare time, he likes to watch hour-long documentaries about anything, play with his pet dog, and eat vanilla ice cream.

Instagram: @anthony.imm


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