List of all the Things We Got Right

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Issue Twenty Six, Poetry

  1. You were never shy with your smile—blazing white, upright vanilla snow cones.
  2. I was a ghost on the days you looked through me, but my heart would still halt mid-clang like a dinner bell had given up, a mother aware that her kids had long run off.
  3. Unlocked windows, an unhinged garage door, a key tucked into the flower bed—third Marigold over. I’d crawl in like a starving, stray street dog through your back porch.
  4. “Maybe, you should talk to her.”
  5. I was the drywall that hugged the framing or the door mat smashed under muddy feet, but I never stopped believing.
  6. Some evenings I shook like ice cubes in a warm glass of dark roast tea. You slurped down every last ounce of me.
  7. I had you mapped out: your left eye was the capital. Right foot touched down in Texas.
  8. Let’s throw the anchors down to sea, disconnect them from the boat—
    manatees dancing around them like some totem pole ceremony.
  9. Woke up to your thunder. I was lightening. Counted six seconds between our separate strikes. We were a long six miles away from the right timing.
  10. Alone in the back seat of bus 23, faith didn’t come to me in the form of God.
  11. Even when the leaves blew off the barren branches in the autumn, they’d buoy in the same bay, get raked into the same pile.
  12. Wildflowers never lay their roots, but mine still clung to you—a slow, sick decaying.
  13. Our vines entangled, and the fruit either came out purple like the sweet ones or bitter like the green ones, but neither is that good for you, and we’d engulf them until we were bloated and blue.
  14. All the lines on all my pages stank of decomposing plans.
  15. If I would have kept all the tears I cried in mason jars, I could have refilled the ocean when the tides were low.
  16. Anyway, we never really gave up.
  17. I created a monster. Or a rag doll all stitched together and ripped apart. Frankenstein. Or sometimes Jekyll and sometimes Mr. Hyde.
  18. “Please, just let him go. He’s going.”
  19. Rose-shaped doilies floated atop the lake like deserted lily-pad habitats, coffee-stained from days awake trying to stuff the words into just the right shapes, but it was overflowing.
  20. The sticky, saccharine syrup began to drip down your chin.
  21. Hit the pavement and dashed into a nearby stream. Never seen since.
  22. Picture frames ripped down and smashed to jagged pieces; we could still feel the pulse beating under floorboards from their fragments. Holes shaped like fists in the insulation caulked up with words we’d sworn off before, but they hung around our heads in swarms.
  23. Placing model train carefully back on its track. Hitting start.
  24. And we’re off.
  25. Again.
  26. A shattered glass mosaic patched together with Elmer’s glue and safety pins.
  27. A rubber stamp slammed on every inch of my skin.
  28. A chemical craving all balled up with sweating pits and clammy hands. A solitary confinement.
  29. A crab’s rotting, molted skeleton.
  30. Sometimes paint spills all over the garage floor and you just never get around to cleaning it up.

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