M. V. Montgomery

from Possibles


If we are all the characters in our dreams, then I am the fellow college student named Chloë who approached me in the Commons, inviting me back to her dorm room. Chloë was not particularly attractive, somewhat heavy, with dark hair dyed violet at the tips. She seemed very weary of life and romantic relationships. I shared in her weariness.

Then I became her annoyed roommate, knocking at the door.


I was riding a horse named Roxanne down a steep mountain trial. She stumbled once, then a second time. I realized that I must be too heavy for her.

So I got off Roxanne and led her to a nearby trading post to swap her for a motorcycle.

interactive GPS

I was cycling across town and took the wrong road by mistake. I found myself in a rural area alongside a field of alfalfa. I pedaled to the farmhouse to ask my way back. A large woman sat in a rocker on the porch.

While I asked her directions, her grown son came running around the side of the house chasing a butterfly. He hit it with a tennis racket and it fell into the dust, dead. His mother yelled over to him to do something constructive and take me where I needed to be. So he loaded my bike in the bed of his pickup, and then we were good to go.


I was walking outside a strip mall when a young teenage girl came up to me. She asked me if I would go into a shop and buy her some lingerie. I don’t think so, I said, and continued on my way. But my mother’s dead! she said, stopping me in my tracks. She seemed genuinely distressed—or was too good of an actor for me to tell the difference.

I considered a moment. Maybe what she really needed was some money. Er—how much do you need? I asked her. I need you to buy them—kids aren’t allowed in that shop. I said I was sorry, truly I was, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about styles and sizes.

She pulled me into the door a little ways, where a sale rack was standing, and pointed out a blue set. There, the blue one, she said, dodging out of the door before the manager caught her. But I was already running away.

star student

In the computer lab, waiting for the first meeting of a new creative writing class to start, I try to make myself useful by unjamming the printer and restocking the paper. I think: Surely the professor will appreciate my going the extra mile to help out! On this day I feel young, vibrant, a star student—although for some reason, I am wearing sunglasses indoors. Then I take a place at a computer station like the others. The lab is not yet full.

Five minutes pass, then ten, then fifteen. Late-coming students arrive while others shift uncomfortably in their swivel chairs. Twenty minutes. Then a foreign-looking young woman approaches me, looking as if she is on the verge of confiding something. I lean in toward her helpfully, expectantly. She says: If you don’t start this class soon, Sir, I am going to file a complaint.

the stash

I was passing through the old neighborhood, saw some bark hanging loosely on one of Jimmy’s old trees, and pried it off. The hollow tree had been used for storage: mostly clothes, watches, t-shirts. An older Hispanic worker came up to me and seemed concerned about what I would do with the stash. I told him that I was a friend of the family and would see that all the items were returned. Then I scooped them up and loaded them onto the bed of my truck He didn’t really understand what I was saying, but deferred to me. Only later did I realize that I had robbed this man.

M.V. Montgomery is an Atlanta professor and author of two books of poetry, Strange Conveyances and Joshu Holds a Press Conference.
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