Vol. 1, No. 3: Slobberknockers & Buttonhooks photo

My Ex was a Division II Linebacker & After All This Time, I Still Don’t Know What that MeansMeghan Phillips

Here’s what I do know: he was from the part of Virginia that no one likes to think about. The part where uncles have stills in their basements & lortab in their pockets. Where daddies go into the mines everyday, their boys a growth-spurt away from those same dark holes. He drove a humvee in Kosovo when I was driving my dad’s Mystique to first period choir practice. He sold plasma & drugs & smoked synthetics so he wouldn’t piss hot. If you Google him, the only thing that comes up is the review of Metallica’s St. Anger he wrote for his college newspaper. His sister had a heeler that kept jumping out of the car, trying to herd the cattle stuck on those green hills like magnets. His dad had another family. He had 80 pounds on me, a full foot on me. He said he loved me like he was afraid someone would hear. Once, he held my ankles on his lap like they were the gentle skulls of baby birds. Once, he held my throat in an attic room off the Prinsengracht, pressed my face into a pillow that smelled like someone else’s hair. Once, he held my hand for two and half blocks but decided it was too hard to go along side-by-side like that. Once, he held a football, I guess—he held back the line. Kept that line from going anywhere. He stopped things with his hands, with the hard meat of his body. Laid other men flat with the jam of his shoulder, pressed their faces into hot plastic turf. I don’t know. He stopped things with his hands & people went fucking wild for it.