Any Other Person by Arielle McManus

sometimes I like to go on real estate sites & look at apartments for sale in cities other than my own & imagine the kind of person I’d be if I lived there like if I lived in Stockholm I’d have a red bicycle with a silver bell & short hair bleached white-blonde & I’d have a terrace to grow berry bushes & Queen Anne’s lace on & I’d either only smile or frown I haven’t decided which yet & if I lived in Berlin I’d have a neck tattoo & would sleep under a skylight always at the mercy of the weather always at the mercy of something bigger than myself & I wouldn’t think twice about the number of calories in a pint of beer but I’d still be so thin & god you’d be so jealous & if I lived in Paris I’d smoke Gauloises on an ivy-covered balcony & I’d look like some tragic heroine in a novel rated 3.7 stars by people on the internet who don’t know the difference between a prose poem & a lyric essay & I’d have a study full of philosophical books in languages I don’t speak & never will & I’d wear glasses even though I have 20/20 vision & if I lived in Porto I’d drink black coffee standing up in my kitchen tiled with the white & azure azulejos that I stole from the Porto São Bento railway station in the cover of night just me & a chisel & a masonic hammer under the star-needled sky I think I could hear the ocean if I stopped the clash of metal to ceramic long enough to really listen only I’m never quiet enough to hear the waves heed the warnings just skating by on whispered promises & maybe tomorrows mustering up just enough strength to see myself through each acrid dawn


Arielle McManus is a dual Swedish-American citizen, learning as she goes and writing from a tiny, sunlit room in Brooklyn. She is an assistant editor at Atlas & Alice, and her writing has been published by a variety of literary publications including Passages North, Entropy Magazine, and Cabinet of Heed, among others.

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