Dream Baby

Max Hipp

Shake your heart like a half-pint of milk, blow in it, put it back in. It’s another night of playing Lost Highway, Long Gone, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, waiting for her to stumble in to find you in your boxers with the cheap guitar, like something out of a sad movie, and start texting the friends she never introduces, the ones who ding her I know, right? Or else put on Dream Baby, Orbison’s trembling vibrato thickening the air like a spell cast sixty years ago. Hips flex against your palms, her nails in your neck, her hair smelling of coconut and cigars until you wake alone again with the record crackling. Or stare out at the moonlight, how the corner of the house casts a guillotine shadow on dead grass. Or snap on a headlamp and pull out your intestines, set them on the kitchen counter, go through them with grill tongs. Search for love in the muck. And when all her running leads her home to you hugging your guts, she’ll take off her clothes and break the phone into shards, eat it piece by piece: plastic, gold, copper, tungsten, lithium, cobalt, and coltan. A quiet moment at five-something with nothing between your bodies, her jagged belly against your back, her arms around your insides until the cat cries to go out, and you both brush your teeth, bleeding together still better than apart.

Max Hipp’s work has appeared most recently in Ellipsis, Lost Balloon, and SmokeLong Quarterly. He is a writer, teacher, and musician from Mississippi with both a novel and a story collection in the works. Holler @maximumevil.