"The Year of Things We Could Regret" by Michael Prihoda

Our parents have problems.


The man bagging groceries at the local Meijer has problems.


Steven has problems.


Gary has problems.


I think one time you mentioned how the dental hygienist attending the initial cleaning of your front molars referenced her recent, razor-edged divorce, which, I have to say, makes me think she has a host of nearly illimitable problems.


Joanna has problems.


The last barista I ordered a drink from (please, not Starbucks; whatever I am I am not that) didn’t pull the ristretto correctly and I tasted the off-ness in every sip, probably would have enjoyed the drink otherwise, but just knowing the mess-up, the goof, was enough to put me off from the whole coffee drinking enterprise but then again I didn’t go up and complain, realizing somewhere subconsciously that I should have ordered a Gibraltar or even a café miel because at least the honey would take the edge from whatever mistake could have been made (excepting, of course, an over-eager dusting of cinnamon, which definitely happened once, though I let it slide because the barista that time was cute and yeah, standing, waiting for my drink, I thought about how exactly I might tip her head just so to meet my lips and how much tongue I would use and if she wore chapstick/lip gloss what kind it might be and if that would somehow be a turn-on or else perversely anti-arousing because it might magically reverberate with the same natural flavors in my body wash, purchased from the health store down the road from the coffee bar where they faulted my ristretto). All of this meaning the barista who served me my ristretto has, at least, a singular problem.


Vincent has problems.


You have problems.


I have problems. Lots of them. Since the year of my birth.


But maybe you have more problems.

"The Year of Someone That Wasn't You" by Michael Prihoda

Your name was Lucy and we snuck into your parents’ house at night, the click of the door behind me like a sign that nothing would be the same, nothing would feel the same, having entered. Having become the man about-to-be-making-out-with-you on your parents’ couch. In your parents’ living room. In the house you grew up in. An incidental urine stain from your first dog still besmirching the carpet.


I didn’t notice.


Your hand in my hand. Mine in yours.


We lost ourselves for a couple hours, a couple nights.


We called it good back then.

"The Year of Transgressions" by Michael Prihoda

That vegan guy I knew kept coming up in conversation and maybe I talked about him so much because I was getting concerned about my weight and the way you looked at me sometimes as I reached for something in the kitchen. Or as I reached for you.


Do you want this to stop?


Did you ever want it to begin?

"The Year of Beginning" by Michael Prihoda

New Year’s, I make some comment about a resolution to love you every day this next year, without fail, without addendum, without conditions, and I thought I kept this procedural in my head but apparently my voice ached it outward because you heard and went sharp. As if my process of naming you perfection had been a farce, a disjointed chicanery, like a four-act advertisement for how you ought to fall in love with me because of my potential to earn money, or something.


I lost all safety and midnight came slow.


Day 1 of my resolution begins as you turn away and I wonder how much I will be tested before you turn back.