Katie Smith


How I laid there: a miniature moon, a tiny yellow house in the hills of Appalachia, an embodiment of soft traps, small but regular doses of OxyContin, prescribed by the sports physician my coach had a crush on. Grandma's chicken. Dad's indifference. A slumped body, neck muscles, torn shoulder, brain mosaics of No I'm Fine's, of I'm Good How Are You's, of Oh My Gosh Shut Up No You Didn't's, of I’m Like Dying It’s So Hot Outside’s. I am the moon, and the yellow house, and the queer kid, walking down the ammunition aisle of Walmart with a sour face. I am the has-been high school point guard. His number was retired the same week he got arrested for assaulting that lady. But nobody died in a car accident that year. And it was deer season. 


I am the screaming racist on Fox News. I am the explosions, beer or wine, guns or roses, throw a strike and the man will laugh at all the blue while the women shrivel to the ground at the gender reveal party. I’m a boy. I am that kid pissing on the Chevy logo. I am my brother. I am his Quran and my mother's church band. Warship. Worship. I am the family calendar. Monday's are for allergy shots. I am the anxiety of my Grandma, the PTSD of my father, drafted. Westboro baptist church, the Marlboro Man, Carhartt coveralls, foggy mornings at Burger King. I am leg day, rogue, tough mudder, plastic bags for every individual item at Dollar General. I am your opinion of Narcan, 45, church cops, dykes in softball pants, what team do you bat for, my parents, so zoned out always, me getting whipped, a house covered in eggs, perfect aim. I laid there, a ghost of the hills, face glistening under the bug zapper, hand gripping tight onto my speedy rewards card. I am the pain killer. I am the four remote controls in the living room. I am all the times my mother told me she didn't need any help carrying the groceries inside. I am the free refill.

Stef Rieder was born in Lancaster, Ohio in 1990. She grew up in southern Ohio and attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. She now studies a Master of Fine Arts at the HFBK in Hamburg and is currently a member of the aff Galerie in Berlin as well as the Trace Queer Artist Collective in Brighton, UK. Her work focuses on the fictional archive and U.S. American small talk.