If It Plays in Peoria: A Glossary of Midwestern Survival

Creative Nonfiction by Megan Cannella

saying, I used to date a lot of managers of strip clubs for a while


            meaning to have tried too much

            meaning to have cowered in ways that surprised you

            meaning to have smelled like fried food more frequently than             is comfortable

            meaning to have once been a different kind of optimist

            meaning you used to get great coke

            meaning you know how to be sad in a Miss Havisham kind of way

asking, Bathroom?


            meaning I want to fuck

            meaning ya got any drugs

            meaning I need to cry

            meaning wanna go talk shit about this bitch

            meaning did ya see who just came in, don’t you dare fuck him             again, you’re gonna fuck him again aren’t you

            meaning I miss you

            meaning this bar is too loud to miss you in

            meaning it’s too hard to be with you anywhere less public than             this, so this is the only place I can be alone with you

opening a beer for someone without being asked


            meaning I see you

            meaning I hear you

            meaning I hurt you

            meaning I’m sorry

            meaning love me again

            meaning rot with me a while, won’t you

saying, Yeah…I know him


            meaning he was inside me earlier today

            meaning how do you know him

            meaning he’ll be cumming in me while we laugh about you

            meaning quit while you’re ahead

            meaning I already know your suffering while you don’t even see             it coming

asking, Wanna go for a drive?


            meaning I want to make out with you

            meaning I have a wife at home so we can’t make out there

            meaning I have a boyfriend who hasn’t fucked me in two years             because he thinks I’m a whore

            meaning I love you more than anything but the only place I             understand intimacy is in these fields on the way to Kewanee

parking in a cornfield


            meaning is the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere             with someone you barely know the safest place you’ve ever been

            meaning how sad for you

            meaning what are you outrunning

            meaning what happens when you are found

fucking in a car in a cornfield


            meaning this is fragile

            meaning you are fragile

            meaning I am fragile

            meaning too much space or light or air will break this, break             us

being at the good Walmart before 6 am


            meaning you are drunk from the night before

            meaning there were less cops on the route here than on the             route home

            meaning you’re sobering up

            meaning you’re buying things to keep from crying

            meaning you won’t leave til the Panera across the parking lot             opens so you can sit naked in your bed eating a cheese danish             before you pass out only to wake up with a hangover that only             a three day bender can ease

saying, It’s good to see you


            meaning I knew I shouldn’t have come back to this bar

            meaning you’ll never see me again

saying, I miss you


            meaning loving you almost killed me

            meaning loving you is the thing I’ve done the longest

            meaning goddamn, we used to get good coke

<strong>Megan Cannella</strong>
Megan Cannella

Megan Cannella (she/they) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. Her debut chapbook, Confrontational Crotch and Other Real Housewives Musings, is out now and available at https://linktr.ee/mcannella. You can find Megan on Twitter at @megancannella.