Selection from “This Is Between Us” (a novel in progress) by Kevin Sampsell


Strip

There is a strip of photos that we’ve hidden somewhere. It’s four pictures of us from a photo booth when we still had other people’s rings on our fingers. You can see them in one of the poses. We never thought to take them off.
     We thought that people would just think that we were married to each other when we were out somewhere—that I gave you that ring and you gave me this ring.
     We were good at pretending to be one strong couple, not a combination of two weak ones. But I do remember that time at the dessert shop when you pointed at something excitedly and accidentally called me by your husband’s name. You didn’t notice your mistake and I just rolled with it, like nothing happened.
     There is no sign of rings in any other photo of us. I guess that means we’re free.

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Kevin Sampsell lives in Portland, Oregon, where he runs Future Tense Books, an influential micropress that he started in 1990. His work has recently appeared in The Rumpus, Unshod Quills, and Smalldoggies. He recently performed a new collaboration with musician Laura Gibson at sold out Entertainment For People shows in Portland and Seattle. His most recent book is A Common Pornography: A Memoir.