“Stone Pillow,” “Gold Rush Girl” and “#TrashFries”

In Issue 49 by Eric Lawson

“Stone Pillow,” “Gold Rush Girl” and “#TrashFries”

Stone Pillow

I can’t quite make normal work for me.

The angle, the navigating, the placement.

I’ve lost the how to manual for contorting

my body to use makeshift MacGyver skills

and filthy underbrush to survive on.

I’m not sure how it happened.

I’m not sure who or where I am.

I remember expecting rain.

I remember a heartbreak at a hotel.

I remember a ship in a bottle in a bathtub

and drinking wine and laughing.

There was an argument.

There was a gunshot.

There was screaming.

And there I was, still me, but no longer me.

I’m so weary and numb and I’ve lost blood.

My neck sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies

every time I turn my head.

Are you truly there?

Am I finally here?

I’m relieved you found me, saved me from

myself and an episodic cliffhanger ending.

I just need to rest.

On this stone pillow.

Lie on this forest floor bed.

Please don’t try to wake me.

You’ll only be disappointed when I forget

all the names for love during the night.

Gold Rush Girl

For Amy Lawson

She takes the enormous book off the

shelf gingerly, valuing the contents.

Like a robin’s egg that might crack

under the slightest pressure.

She tackles the giant pile of assorted

stuffed animals in her room.

Like a rugby player with no fear or

concerns about gravity.

She wades into the vast ocean with

determination and curiosity.

Like an upstart Olympic swimmer with

Something to prove.

She plucks the guitar strings with

the gusto of naïve discovery.

Like the man following the waterfall

into the cave in the song “2112.”

She peddles her bike up the steepest hill,

one lungful at a time.

Like the Little Engine That Could.

She smiles

and says that

she loves me

and I hold onto the words

with all of my might and

I hope that they are enough to

help us navigate the mountains ahead.


The only way to live forever anymore

is through online videos that go viral.

If I’m fifteen and think quarantines

are utter bullshit, this is the only way.

At first, I ate fries out of a trashcan.

This got me daredevil friends and

thousands of sheep-like followers.

Then I ran naked and screaming through

a JC Penny’s on Valentine’s Day.

Then we took turns crashing our bikes

into parked cars and faking injuries.

The adrenaline flowed.

The double dares increased.

There are no sacred cows anymore.

So I got high on paint thinner and

ran amok at the local grocery store.

I licked all the produce and meat packs.

I set fire to the toilet paper, pissed on

the school supplies, and broke all the

medicine and alcohol bottles I could find.

They say I contaminated thousands.

They say I should be tried as an adult.

They say where were the parents or the

police while all this was going down?

But they don’t get it and they never will.

#TrashFries is going to live forever now.

You’re all just hopelessly jealous bitches

because you didn’t think of it first.

And you’ll never forgive me for being

so full of life and completely wasting it.

About the Author

Eric Lawson

Eric Lawson's work has recently appeared in Maudlin House, Mad Swirl, and Hennen's Observer.

Read more work by Eric Lawson .

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