It’s an ugly age—twenty-three. Off-balance, uneven. And that night, the year walked out on me, out of the blue jeans left in the hallway by my own front door when I'd stepped out to take a piss (or had I pissed myself?). Sloughed off, they’re still holding their shape in the morning like the base of a broken statue. In the pocket my cellphone’s ringing— it’s me, stumbling around the apartment on the cordless, half-naked, a year older, hearing the damn thing I don’t know where.

AUSTIN SEGREST, originally from Alabama, teaches literature and creative writing at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. See more at