Bad Gateway

Poem by Spencer Lee

Art by J. Sassi

I’m malfunctioning at the pool with

my kindergarten ex-girlfriend

listening to the humdrum whir of

the air conditioner. 


She has a brother 

I’ve seen on Grindr; 

she gets me, I’ve assumed. 


We’re discussing the merits

of Uber fees over 

DUI charges and all the 

tall boys on skateboards 

who won’t text us back. 


I think you’re just 

hungover, she says. 

At least you’re not 

a robot, she says. 


But my skin’s garish white– 

a blank webpage. 

My face, a pop-up of 

reds and blacks and blues 

you can’t click away. I’m 

wired to death. 


Now I’m lowering my feet into aquamarine blue, 

testing the temperature like I’ve somehow forgotten 

what it’s like to be 

pulled into 

the deep end, 

to be submerged 

against my will, to 

short-circuit my

veins at my own.


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