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"The Swing" • Everclear (by Gwen Hilton)

Sarah Michelle Gellar is thrown from the second story of a sorority house. She was the designated sober sister for the evening. As she flies through the air, guitar feedback swells. In 1997 you played rock at the frat party. Relief after the chase. Relief after the stabbing. Relief after the home invasion. Ghostface looks down on his work. Sarah Michelle Gellar looks like Lois Griffin contorted at the bottom of the stairs, but we know that her bones have punctured her lungs and Lois will stand after the non-sequitur. I loved this song for a decade before I watched the film that inspired Everclear’s undersung masterpiece. When they play it live, poorly, within three hundred miles of the square block I rarely leave I feel my bones puncture my lungs. When I watch Scream I think about my dead neighbor. I think about going to the house of the girl I had a crush on for a movie and a bonfire, I think about how my friends don’t want to fuck certain girls until I do, tapping out of the horror, being strange, feeling like the pity invite, making myself the pity invite by feeling that way. I feel my body work against the earth, SMG, holes made with metal stabbed, shot, riddled into me, SMG, envious of other women, SMG. When Art sings I think of him. I think of the boy that regrets meeting Art. Art said this art was for him, not one single fan. I think of the dead man and how I barely knew him as a man. Never said I was innocent. I will burn in hell for the things I’ve done to you.

I am sober sister. I am soon to not be sober sister. I am buying drugs for the first time. I am buying drugs for the fifth or sixth time. I am buying drugs without a middleman for the middleman to the middleman to the local lord for the first time. I’m outside of a bookstore. When we make the deal I’m in front of the classics section. I think about how I never have forty dollars in cash. I think about how I haven’t read a book for fun since I started getting laid. I’m across from the federal courthouse. I’m talking to a boxer I used to feel jealousy toward. I’m thinking about those nights playing Fight Night. I am thinking about all the body shots I landed. I am thinking about how I used to slam our friend’s back to the ground in the unfinished basement. I would slam him so hard his head would ricochet. I am thinking about how I used to slam him to the ground in his own unfinished home, wondering if I could send him, us, through the flimsy floor of the construction like a Mortal Kombat stage transfer. Sometimes I think the power is better than a hard drug. Scream in his face so loud the neighbors could hear. Never said I was anything good. I should die from the shame from what I put you through. I am buying drugs for the first time without a middleman and the boxer, our old friend, the dealer, tells me that he’s in jail. Trafficking across state lines. Major weight. I act surprised. The Judge told me. She said, remember your old friend? I clarified for the first time. She said I had my door closed too much as a child. She said she didn’t want to see me masturbating or she would’ve taken it off the hinges.

At this point he’s been dead longer than the years we knew each other. Let me be the one to bring us back from the dead. It was intense for only two or three. I will take the blame for everything. Silence only counts with your father. I just want to help you forget. A graduation present in the woods. A stereotype reified while seeking peace and quiet. A bug in the ass. Stiff flesh in a small mouth. A lot more cum than the last time. Rope after rope. Tastes bad. Tastes like him. The last time. A porter job I'll never have. A luxury car he never had. 

Some days it’s all my fault. Some days he was always going to wind up like this. Some days I replay it and know why. Sometimes I do it because I know I don’t. Sometimes I think letting go is just like giving up. 

Gwen Hilton is a writer in Chicago. Her first book Sent to the Silkworm House can be purchased from Expat Press. Her next book, Where the Breastplate Meets the Blade will be available for preorder from Expat Press soon. 


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