Roommates, Florida Street

Rebecca Black


Billy let a spider live in the strings of his piano. He was learning to play from scratch. Listening to him dinking out ragtimes made her remember her parents’ Scott Joplin albums, rainy Saturdays dancing around the rug’s rectangle. Billy only called himself Billy—it wasn’t his real name. He lived on savings and herbal tea, seemed more content than her. Billy, she said to herself, tired from the train ride home, hungry and smelling his potato scrap soup, hearing his maple leaf rags, Billy, she said—as he carved off a heel of his home-made soda bread, Billy, she said with her mouth full, you’re good for nothing.


Rebecca Black’s work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry Daily, Blackbird, Pleiades, Missouri Review, Conjunctions, AGNI, Meridian, and many other magazines. Her book of poems, Cottonlandia, won a Juniper Prize. She is currently at work on a book of narrative nonfiction.