by Emily Griffin
When I am not okay, I read my own poems aloud in the dark. It turns my body to a whisper (or a scream, muted by a childhood toy) and the clotted blood is a misplaced memory, remembered wrong (is hot honey drip dripping on the kitchen linoleum), the unreturned phone calls: clementine pulp, stuck between your teeth (fangs, resting gently against your neck) and I am waiting & waiting & waiting
And I am alone at a party where my mouth is too big for the room and all I can think is Where did all this glitter come from? Some man with scary big wings blunders through, he leaves funny little bird prints on the carpet, and my throat is raw & there’s ash in my hair, but I want to ask, do you think you’re God? Or is this an Icarus thing? But he’s squawking at my friend and I’m sick from big men with loud voices so it comes out, Fuck you, don’t talk to her like that, like We don’t want you here and my nails are caked in blood & my knees are all scraped up, all gravel and confetti and skin, like what happened here, did I pick another fight? With who? Which mirror? Like no I just need a minute, I’m looking for you and I know, I know, too much is too much, like who would win though, me or God? Like call a cab but I’m broke, we can walk the six miles, like the rain is only raining, like hang on five minutes, like please pick up your phone your fucking phone please be okay please pick up your body my body like please
Because I’ve been drinking about how to walk with my shoulders straight and my chin up tall. How to become numb enough to turn harsh rain to gentle fog and I’ve been thinking about bus tickets to Paris and catching the tube to Heathrow and we don’t say ‘I love you’ anymore and I’ve been thinking about free breakfasts and about we don’t talk anymore and I’ve been thinking about telling you ‘fucking isn’t fun anymore’; I’ve been thinking about describing the sun: it kisses so much harder here, like these European men, I’ve been thinking about airplanes and oceans and music, about the clubs in Budapest and I’ve been thinking about falling so far apart and thinking it on the Atlantic, not my fault, yours too, and the drug habit, you can’t get higher and complain so I’ve been thinking about never wanting to know you again, but I brought you home to my mother and I’m thinking about asking her how she got so fucking lucky, and I’ve been thinking about why I hardly think of you anymore; I’ve been drinking to think of you while kissing strangers and I’ve been thinking about how sharp some teeth are and I’ve been thinking about washing your hair in the shower, but we won’t do that anymore. I’ll land in Portland and we’ll talk about uni and jobs and moving on and you’ll say, let’s drink about it and I’ll say of course another round because I’ve been thinking about how to think about you, think of you, for months.