by Jake Christie

a story.

“You should write her a poem,” said Longfellow, staring straight ahead.

Bryan looked up Longfellow but kept his arms on his knees, hunched over on a bench next to the statue like he'd been gut-punched. “That's what you always say.”

“You asked for my opinion, said Longfellow. A pigeon landed on his lap.

Bryan looked back at his hand, at his cell phone, but it remained unchanged. The blank text message screen glowed under the streetlights.

“Shoo,” said Longfellow quietly. The pigeon hopped from one bronze leg to the other, then back again.

“I'm not going to write her a poem,” said Bryan. “I don't know what it was like in the 1800s or whatever, but these days writing a poem for a girl you work with is creepy. Like, super-creepy. De-friend you on Facebook creepy.”

“It doesn't have to be creepy,” said Longfellow.

“How? How could it not be creepy?”

Longfellow stared straight ahead, lost in thought. Bryan started to speak, to say something like “told-ya-so,” but Longfellow cleared his throat and said:


“Betty, I think you're without compare,

a beauty sweet among sour;

I'd love to run my hands through your hair,

and bring you pretty flowers.”

He waited.

“That's, like, the creepiest thing ever,” said Bryan.

“Can you do something about this bird?” asked Longfellow.

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