by Brittany Ackerman

You showed up at my parents’ house.  You thought I still
lived there.  Had hoped to see me.  You gave your name at
the desk and they called up.  No one was home.  You
drove twelve hours with those hopes.  You came because I
never answered your letters, all your letters.  I had asked
you so long ago to stop writing.  I did this by not writing
back.  I had asked by not saying.  You still wrote.  I tried to
find you after that.  I called and wrote and you said nothing.  
I checked a diner and then I knew it was a dream.  I knew
I would not find you anymore.  The booth was empty.  
Coffee gone.  Your silver jacket was the only thing you left.

by Brittany Ackerman

Hollywood at night is either really sad or beautiful.  The
lights.  The sleepers on the ground.  Girls crying.  
Attractions.  Guitars.  Stars.  Pink dresses.  Boots.  Hats.  
Food and drink.  Sometimes I drink too much and take
a cab home.  I will be home soon in bed.  I will wake up
in six hours.  I’ll be home in nine minutes.  I’m tired and
drunk.  My brain feels like fog.  I want fried potatoes.  I
want food and drink.  I saw so many old friends tonight.  
He gets on the freeway.  This is where I lose service
when I talk to my mother.  Call me back she says.  I can’t
hear you well she says.  Then the line goes.  I pop my ears
in the mountains.  A ritual.  Everyone I know is in love.  
I hear them talk about how the love will never end.  They
open their mouths wide like the queen of hearts.  Their
eyes become large and I believe them.  I believe them
because I am them.  We share a human heart.  We are
holding onto bottles.  We are holding on so tight.

by Brittany Ackerman

I used to take Robertson to the 10.  It took twenty minutes
to get there, fourteen if I was in a hurry.  The rush was just
excitement.  The excitement was fear, fear of him losing
interest, making other plans before I showed up.  I always
brought sushi.  I always smoked on the way.  He had a
glass chess set that we played once.  I lost.  We cooked
sometimes, back when I didn’t know how to cook.  I
rinsed the vegetables.  I set the table, his living room table,
and we ate on the floor.  We fell asleep during the day
and stayed awake at night to watch movies, sad ones, ones
where everyone dies, or the world ends, ones where lovers
separate, where there was no hope.  I used to leave before
he woke up for work.  I shoved my things in a backpack
and watched Santa Monica Boulevard busy with cars,
traffic, sunlight.  I drove home slow, in no rush, in no hurry.


Brittany Ackerman is a graduate of Florida Atlantic
University’s MFA program in Creative Writing.  She is an
instructor of Critical Studies at AMDA College and
Conservatory of the Performing Arts.  Her work has been
featured in
No Tokens, The Los Angeles Review, Queen
Mob’s Tea House
, The Flexible Persona, Fiction
, and elsewhere.  Her collection of essays, The
Perpetual Motion Machine
, is forthcoming from Red Hen
Press in the fall of 2018.  Ackerman currently lives in Los
Angeles, California.     

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 13, Number 1
(Spring 2018)

Copyright © 2018
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.