The Safe Room || Amanda Hutchins

Strings of dollar bills hang from the ceiling as though they’d been put up to dry. Thousands and thousands of strings of dollar bills. Most of them crumpled into withering monetary lungs. They pack the small, dark, grey room turning it government green.

You said you felt like a drug dealer with the bank in front of you, picking out the most crumpled bills to clothespin to the sky.

You told me that déjà vu is actually a glitch in memory recall.
I was fascinated.
You said that knowing that took the magic away
and I said that’s kind of why I liked it.

You counted those topsy-turvy bills, ignoring my presence
and I wished that I could throw the entire world to the wind,
misorder its order
so that magic fell out of these French words
and scraped against the tires of motorcycle gangs
or printed itself against the palms of your hands
inked.

If I could steal beauty
I would,
sucking it from the hibiscus and valley landscapes, from the rough handed guitars and soft-spoken voices.
Just so I could see what it’s meant to be without a form.
Just to see if I could fit it into crumpled bills or grease-stained hands.

You were counting and counting and counting.
I wanted to peel back the labels and definitions of everything,
to lock them away in jars and relearn the world.
To see what it would look like.

I wanted to be the owner of abstract,
wrap my hands around the untouchable
and slip it where it didn’t belong.

Strings of dollar bills hung from the ceiling,
your head wrapped in bandages of numbers.
Columns, compartments, counting on things to be where they belong.
I wanted to shake you until your identity fell out.

You, in all your order;
I wished I could place things where they didn’t belong
to see what would happen.
To see if I could spell anything out.

You told me that déjà vu was actually a glitch in memory recall.
You said that knowing that took the magic away
and that’s why I liked it.

This was originally published in Spring 2018 edition of The Helix.