this is fresh.
the way I put on blush
and got my bangs cut,
properly at a place just
to show up once,
just to take my scarf back
and without a hug.

like the last word
someone said
          I was hoping we could talk about this
or me finishing packing up
anything belonging to my
ex; an entire bookshelf he left
which leads me to a shoebox
to stuff the card my new
ex-thing sent.

find old photographs
of myself unsure in blue hoodie
set to the mountains
at sunset like I couldn’t
imagine not being there.
it was such a casual stance
to permanence I carried.
the last time I look at a place.
the impassable space between
states, abysmal and
the plane ride to my
brother’s coma.
it all comes back.
this is fresh.

this is the last time I’ve ever
seen or heard from someone.
my intrepid cool affect
pushing edges further back
to margin;
my rehearsed gait.
the way I asked how are you
three times with a nervous gesture,
without listening or waiting
for response and then
a sudden turn away.

I spent all my time at the beach
as a child
watching waves take things away.
I’d throw sticks in there,
seaweed, sometimes bottle caps.
draw lines in the sand with my toes.
throw hermit crabs back.
the day the sky was black
and cut with
lightning, swollen
with compulsion,
a tropical storm touched the
ocean and on instinct,
it swallowed itself.
I was there at the edge.
watching waves curl up to
my chest and
my aunt screamed,
came to grab me as I touched the
shore with my hands and
carried me up to the house.
(redacted) why did you do that?
the whole way up,
I was crying, screaming
about a flip flop
drifting in the current,
begging her to go back.
I remember it to this day.
it had white soles and  yellow and vinyl
ribbon tied into a bow
at the toe.
I was trying to go back
into the water to get it.
you can’t tell anything
about a statue
except it’s resting form:

but if you ever saw the contents of
my purse: the twisted straws,
the clutter, lists of
things to get or hold,
the collections,
you would see
that peevish child
taunting the ocean’s
grip and dashing,
longing for her
endless swaddle,
and everything that ever
existed too.

“Veruca Salt”

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