Bards & Brews Reader

Scorpio, Born in the Year of the Cock


If I were a Virgo I would wear white pants. Like the ladies on QVC and tampon commercials, I would be immaculate. I would have creases in my slacks even though nobody irons anymore, and I would get my hair cut professionally. It would swing. My nails would gleam, and whatever might be under them—dog shit, potting soil, blood—could be easily scraped out. There would be no scars on my hands from the oven burns, the knife slices, the bathroom-sink wart removals.

A Virgo can look back on her day and see the purposeful actions roll by like so many boxcars. She knows what each contains, its position in the train, the speed of the engine. She owns a healthy 401(k). She does not wish the train would turn around, is not afraid of the destination, wouldn’t throw herself on the tracks rather than watch it all proceed. She does not lie to her mother. Her hand is not terrified on the switch.

Virgos do not have umbrellas that do not open, dogs that might bite, dishpans full of grouse feathers. Every article of clothing they buy, fits. They own Roombas for their taupe Berber and salad spinners for the mesclun and mizuna. They remember their first time fondly; it was sweet and expected, with a boy named Jerry or Mark, who had waited, and brought flowers. Not different boys, various events, things done alone in a room. A maidenhood not so much given as worn away.

If I were a Virgo I would buy appropriate little gifts to commemorate others’ promotions and anniversaries. I would have scented soaps for Mary, an alma mater tie for Lawrence. I would be described as “thoughtful.” A Virgo knows what day it is, unsurprised by the calendar. Two days before her child’s birthday she is not scrambling through Amazon, paying extra for one-day shipping.

What does she do, this Virgo, when the reflection in the mirror is not improved by careful plucking and the application of a tasteful amount of eyeliner? Does she run the side of her hand across the shower steam on the glass, pushing hard, hoping it will break? There’s gin in that orange juice, Virgo, and I’m having breakfast. Comb your hair, bitch, and get on with your day. Get on with it.

If I were a Virgo I would.

But it is way past September, and of the many things I am not, a Virgo is one of them. The eighth house nears and I, menses-stained and pungent, dry my hands on my jeans and wait to be born. Again.

Originally published in 45th Parallel

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