Preston Smith

Multi-Level Marketing

If you’re lucky, parts of you will survive
the whole. Meet your parents
for brunch and tell them you’re not hungry
for anything they can provide anymore.
After all, you’ve divorced your desire
faster than they could find theirs
in a third party—or was it four
dolls dancing in this dream house?
Every doll yearns to be the life of the party
and that’s the problem with simultaneity—
the waiter will come and they won’t notice
your wandering eyes on his or the way
you fumble your glass when he speaks.
It’s better this way, your friends have said
and they’ve taken a psychology class, so
surely they know the difference between
life and death. Dad orders salad.
Mom, the steak, medium rare—living
between two states is all they’ve ever known
and dying in Ohio is a hobby, so perhaps
it is better this way: better that you don’t
buy a room in this dream house.

Preston Smith (he/him) holds an MA in English literature, and he writes both poetry and fiction. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram @psm_writes talking about baking and fairy tales. His work appears in Thin Air Magazine, Tilde, and Perhappened, among others, and his website is

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