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I Think I Hate that Guy Jeff Who Works Three Desks Down from You

Jacob Tashoff

You smell like chicken tenders

and I hate you right now.

And maybe that’s a stupid thing to hate, 

but you’re going to make

my bed smell like chicken,

and it’s kind of really adorable

how much your eyes light up

when you get to eat it,

but a chicken bed doesn’t 

sound too comfortable,

even though I’m sure 

you’d maybe love it

a bit too much.

Or maybe I hate the chicken

because sometimes it feels 

like you love it 

more than you love me,

or maybe I’m just insane

because I’m jealous of a

dead fucking bird,

and I’m sure there’s no way

you really stare at chicken the way

you do in my head,

but I can’t fight that feeling

that maybe you just don’t 

love me as much anymore,

if chicken can win over me.

I think maybe I like

to overthink things a little

too much, which you’ve told me

plenty of times before, and then

you kiss me and tell me there’s 

no one else you’ll ever love 

but me, but then you go and ask

if I want chicken wings for dinner.

Maybe you’d love me more 

if I was dead. 

You don’t seem awfully enamored

with living chickens, if that

one time we went to that farm

way upstate is anything to go off of.

You said they smelled worse

than when that tilapia wasn’t cooked properly

and my ass went numb sitting 

on the toilet too long, 

and you laughed and bumped my arm

with your shoulder and linked

our hands in your pocket because

it was chilly so early in the morning

and your pockets were fleece lined

and mine weren’t. 

I had a dream that I bought myself

a chicken costume to see if 

you really did love chicken more

than me, but then it turned weird

and I’m glad I don’t keep a dream journal

anymore because I know you 

always read it even though you said

you didn’t, and I doubt you 

would want to read about

when I dreamed I was dressed like 

a chicken and you’ve never been 

more into the sex than when 

chicken me was fucking you.

I know you still love me,

especially late at night when I wake up

because I’m suddenly really 

thirsty, like really thirsty,

and I left a glass of water next to the bed

just in case this happened,

and you roll over to face me

but you’re still asleep

and your lips are a little pursed

and it sort of sounds like you’re

barely whispering my name,

and your arm falls across my chest

because I haven’t managed to actually

sit up yet, and now I never will, 

because that was just too cute,

so instead I stare at your

beautiful sleeping face and 

try to remember what it felt like

to not have a dry mouth.

I can usually ignore that, though,

because you look so peaceful

when you’re asleep, not 

that you don’t when you’re awake,

but nothing that you were worrying

about during the day seems capable

of bothering you when you’re sleeping,

and I secretly maybe not-so-secretly

hope that it’s at least in part

because I’m sleeping next to you.

But now instead of lying awake

with a dry mouth, I lie awake

jealous of fucking chicken

and I can’t even believe myself 

when I think about it, because it’s 

just so stupid to me to think

a goddamn bird has a chance of

stealing you away from me,

and I know you’d agree

with the sensible part of me,

and you’d make absolutely sure

that I knew no dumb bird ever had

a chance of taking you away from me,

but most of the time, the irrational

part of my brain seems to win these arguments,

and honestly I’d rather you not know

that I’m freaking out about chicken.

So yeah, you smell like chicken tenders

right now, and I definitely hate chicken,

and I definitely don’t actually hate you, 

and I’d rather not go out to dinner 

with your work friends. Sorry.

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