in training

by Barbara Genova

if a TV’s on, and you care to tune in, picture a spirited daytime conversation about children taking and taking from you, the mental energy – sorry, it is now called emotional bandwidth
it’s a diner, it’s local. i’ll have a coffee, black
just passing through. all my possessions fit on a chair.
bulletin board tells a story of sewing lessons, nurses needed, library fire sales, friday it’s trivia night at the bar
i catch the shimmer of a conversation another diner four thousand miles away:
do you sleep?
yeah, i sleep
do you fuck?
i drink coffee with honey i take notes on who i will become
improvise, i’m thinking wellness, a bend, third eye peeled open by knives
here’s a round of afternoon predictions for you: the waitress will, in time, be found; somebody has been hoarding video evidence of the recovery coach as a feral teenager; the two men at the counter will not settle their differences to pursue a common goal (generational wealth, notoriety, bit of both)
let’s ask them. i wave at the younger man. hey,
which one do you like better,
kimberly low or kimberly solo
low, he smiles
oh i love this one he knows what’s up i admire the scars on his right arm


so this is kimberly low
she will drive you mad with grief
she will feed off your desire to believe


call me low, all my friends call me low


i don’t eat people when i’m traveling
there’s a procedure

Barbara Genova (she/they) is the pen name of a writer who chose to start over after getting stranded in Central Europe during the first of many Covid lockdowns. She’s the author of “Dirt City”, a monthly column hosted by Bureau of Complaint. Poetry and stories written as Barbara have been published / are forthcoming at Hobart, Strange HorizonsExpat Press, Misery Tourism, 433, The Daily Drunk, Anti-Heroin Chic, scissors & spackle, surfaces.cxSledgehammer Lit, Fahmidan Journal, Hallowzine, The Bear Creek Gazette, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Roi Fainéant Press, Poetry Super Highway, Gutslut Press, the New International Voices Series at IceFloe Press and the Hecate Magazine anthology issue #2 (DECAY, winter 2021). She can be found on Twitter @CallGenova  and on Instagram @thebarbaragenova