Everything You Didn’t Know About Everything

Like Australia. You didn’t know it was the other side of the world. What did you think down under meant? And then there’s syrup. You didn’t know that the maple comes from trees and when you said slow down girl, that syrup doesn’t grow on trees and I said, well actually. And presents. You didn’t know it’s never too late and it doesn’t have to be a birthday. And a text, even one filled with balloon emojis doesn’t count as a present. Sometimes I think you need an encyclopedia. Oh yeah, an encyclopedia is a book about everything. It’s a book so big it’s in more than 20 parts and it’s what we did before Google. Each part is a letter. Except for xyz because there aren’t enough xyz things so they stick them all together in one book and it’s like one of those women you see on the bus with too many children and only one lap. And the L book really ought to be only about Love because that’s how little you know. Take out the lemons and London and leprechauns. Stick them all in the xyz book and let L be just about love. You could have pages about how you don’t tell your girlfriend to go on ahead because you pretend forget your wallet and want to go back in the restaurant to get the tousley waitress’s number. Another page about lying and how it always comes out, like when we go back the next week to the restaurant and the tousley waitress asks if you want the usual and we’ve only been there one time before. And really maybe it’s me who needs the encyclopedia, one that would explain everything for me. Most recently, where the hell you went last night.

Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and (The Theory of Flesh.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She lives in NYC.

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