Spring 2024

Outside the last dyke bar in Northampton, Massachusetts

By Kathryn Fitzpatrick

deucing a cigarette, we agree it’s not really a dyke bar. A man with a sweater crossed over his shoulder sang praise for Mitt Romney with too much vibrato. Off-pitch. Sorority sisters stacked fake IDs, blonde like Tennessee, though it’s clear they’ve never been—haven’t gone cow-tipping, snuck away while the farmer slept, let the barn flush their skin red. What happened to last century’s lesbians? Those beer-from-the-bottle folks who wore neckties to bed and dragged the world on their backs. I don’t know if their ghosts are tucked between lines in the brick walls, but I do know this: in grade school I won Good Samaritan Day, which meant fifty bucks and an ice cream party and a ride in the principal’s PT Cruiser convertible, that slick eggplant car. I hated the way everyone watched me wedged in the back seat. I hated the mothers brushing my hair like a matted retriever. But I liked watching the world, the buildings shrinking in the rearview mirror. Tonight on the ride home, drinking Mike’s Hard, singing bootlegged acoustic, we’ll watch the dyke bars disappearing behind us. We’ll watch the world going down.

Convenience Store

We clung to Thomaston, sheets on a clothesline, cemented our asses in gas station parking lots, blasted cigs and laughed beneath the no loitering sign. We were wannabe bad kids with good parents, trailer trash in two-story colonial housing, dodging the honor roll like a drunk driver, and running into traffic like a manifesto. There was fluoride in the water and debate, how it would turn your sperm to beta males, how the government tuned your brain on to liberalism and turned frogs into fags. Dropouts and enrollments repeated like a laundromat cycle while we divvied our quarters for slushies, and memorized employee faces in exchange for free shit. And when Creepy Joe stopped by, tall and scraggly as a tree caught in the phone lines, we shrugged: education is totally passé anyways man. 

Kathryn Fitzpatrick is a senior at Central Connecticut State University where she is the managing editor of the Helix Literary Magazine. Previous publications include Cleaver Magazine, Out Magazine, Gravel, and others. Most recently, she co-edited the upcoming Woodhall Press anthology, Flash Nonfiction Food. She lives in Thomaston, CT, and tweets at @avgbuttcrumb.

Spring 2024