“I want a new car, I told you.” a Side A prose poem by Hannah Grieco

I want a new car, I told you.

but what I want is to smash the windows of our minivan, to take the chainsaw out of the shed, to push the ignition and hear it sputter and forget for a moment how to run before coming to life, to feel it growl in my hands, my muscles burning as they fire up, too.

I want to walk back in through the basement sliding door, past your desk as you talk to your remote team about who’s doing what at tomorrow’s presentation, as their mouths hang open and you pull off your headphones, finally realizing the roar in your ears isn’t from someone else’s mic.

What are you doing, you’ll yell, but I’ll walk by and stab the piano, slice that bitch in half, slowly and carefully, keeping the line straight, as you jump and flap behind me, the blade biting through the wood, wiggling back and forth to widen the V and then slamming down to the floor, the metal strings inside the piano popping, the keys shooting out like flying teeth.

I’ll finish, jerk the blade back up and out and walk down the hallway, the saw still screeching, you still howling, as I pass the laundry room, carefully wind through the den without nicking the corner table and climb the stairs, avoiding the kitchen as I pass our daughters sitting in front of their Barbie Dream House, ignoring their screamed questions, and continue out the front door, this time taking out a small chunk of painted white crown molding just to fuck it up.

I’ll head up the front walk to the curved brick stairs, climb our azalea-lined steps to the same mom-gray minivan everyone on our street has, its declaration of suburban parenthood a thin mask that makes other moms nod at me despite their raised eyebrows, their tight smiles, their 7 a.m. walks a secret society I pretend I don’t want to join.

But nobody is here today. Nobody will notice.

As the tip of the blade touches the hood, then plunges into the engine’s body and I carve, carve, carve.

Interview with Hannah Grieco

HFR: Can you share a moment that has shaped you as a writer (or continues to)?

HG: Pretty much *the* moment for me came in 2017, when I wrote and performed a piece for “Listen To Your Mother.” I didn’t consider myself a writer before that evening, and even then—I thought of myself as a mother and advocate. It didn’t occur to me that I had written that piece, that it was an essay rather than just storytelling. (And that storytelling is also writing!) Then people from the audience came up afterwards and talked to me about it, asked me where they could read more of my work, etc. I realized that I wanted to explore this.

HFR: What are you reading?

HG: I just finished The Hive by Melissa Scholes Young, and I started Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom two days ago! Amazing!

HFR: Can you tell us what prompted “I want a new car, I told you.”?

HG: Well, it began in one of Tommy Dean’s workshops. Then it exploded into an angry act of rebellion, which my lovely husband does not deserve! But this year has truly sucked. I’m pretty pissed off at life!

HFR: What’s next? What are you working on?

I’m supposed to be finishing a novel. (Aren’t we all?) I also have a collection I’m editing that’s coming out from Summer Camp Publishing this fall!

HFR: Take the floor. Be political. Be fanatical. Be anything. What do you want to share?

HG: I want to read more nonfiction, weird short little stories, about everyone’s lives. Fewer formal essays and more storytelling. More real moments. More truth. More of what freaks you out to write. I wish everyone would write these pieces!

I’m a little fanatical about the importance of storytelling, particularly the stories we haven’t heard as often. That have been ignored in the past. That larger publishers haven’t found marketable.

Hannah Grieco is a writer in Arlington, VA. She is the Senior CNF Editor at JMWW, the Fiction Editor at Porcupine Literary, and the Founder and Organizer of the monthly reading series Readings on the Pike in the DC area. Find her online at hgrieco.com and on Twitter @writesloud.

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