I shouldn’t show up today, but I’m coming to your wedding. The American wedding. I will stand when the minister asks if anyone objects because I do, and I’ve always wanted to attend a wedding where that happens. I’m a law student, I know how to object. I’ve got evidence to sustain. Your poems. Dick-pics. Clothes in my dresser. Toothbrush in my bathroom.
The cappuccino machine whirrs, clicks and sings. It sends out a deep hiss, a musky sound, as resonant as something from the throat of a big cat. The air is sugar-scented, the trays are loaded with bite-size confections, aspic red jellies on circlets of biscotti, dabs of meringue, blobs and swirls of chocolate.
The Institute was where I’d been working since age twenty-one, an Institute “devoted to ending violence against women and girls.” In reality, it looked nothing like an Institute. It was a former bookie’s office set above a fancy San Francisco Chinese restaurant.
the hum and purr in my elbow when my phone’s on the desk at work and a text comes through. the thrill in my veins when i see your name on the screen. every time. my thumbs tapping letters, punctuation marks, spelling out our own version of shorthand, scrolling for bitmojis, and gifs, racing with yours
Out in public, you tell your colleagues that the two of you have become “close friends.” That you are strictly platonic confidantes. That your connection is akin to a brother/sister bond. That your conversations are equal parts vapid college anecdotes, light-hearted work gossip, and generic commiseration. That even if there was more there, you don’t even find each other attractive.
I was laying on the grass by the bubble stream listening to Tribe play out of the speaker cone of my rock. Watching the bubble bubbling. Pink nettle cactus and tall frond trees all around. Not much else.
The bed we bought from Sears, a sale, a snip, and it became to us the all but boundless sea, an ocean even, on which our bodies, those separate ships that did not pass in the night, but met, came alongside one with the other, grappled together, rocked together, joined, conjoined, a nautical act of union upon the white-sheeted waves our urgent
I hate cats. At least I thought I did. I was in the midst of a whirlwind a couple of years ago, writing a book about Emily Dickinson, who also hated cats. Seems her kid sister, Lavinia, had a whole kingdom of cats, and the poet found Lavinia and her cats as vindictive as King Saul. I had other reasons to look at cats a little aslant.
She counted the number of words in each love letter, the duration of every phone call and every kiss, counted each petal on each flower in each bouquet. She quantified the warmth of his hand on hers with an infrared thermometer. She tallied the expense of his gifts, accounted for every drink, every meal. She timed his eye contact.