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submissions for our memoir

by Emily K. Fisk

Artwork, “Ain’t Heavy” by Lyle Rushing


meeting you was drowning without water, i didn’t know i was already dead

my body was stronger before my tongue tasted your name

and kissing you was like cliff diving to meet cement

your fingerprints left bruises without a warranty, i can no longer find my skin

somewhere between lost and found, your hands are ghosts around my throat

i choke on my own steps

you stain the bathroom tile like i’ve had too much to drink

loving you was like eating a cereal box of sea glass, and still searching for the prize at the bottom

my fingertips bleed broken promises

sometimes i sleep on the couch to avoid the absence of your shadow in my sheets

my sheets still ask about you

so do my parents

i rehearse words you’ll never hear

my insecurities crawl out of your one-word responses and tell me i’m not worth more

for your love of multiples, i could have been anyone

your hands carry the baggage of “ew she’s my best friend”

i’ve lost count of all the ‘shes’

you were not searching for my heartbeat when your hands groped my chest

i’ve had trouble finding my pulse lately

i need a receipt for our memories but they’re stuck to me like a shirt i can’t get over my shoulders

i can’t get over your smile –

the way the corners curled like willow branches dancing in the wind to our song

it was injecting forbidden fruit into my veins, a delicious poison and I’d run out the high for days

i think i’m still running, but my feet are stuck in the same damn city we met

your face is plastered post-it notes on all the places we had our firsts as if i need reminders you

used to look in my eyes and mean it

i visit museums to remind myself beautiful things have history too

no one ever tells you that goodbye tastes like empty air, tastes like looking in the mirror and not

being able to swallow yourself

i bear the scars of your touch, poetry scratched into my skin like tattoos

i remember the first time you hit me

your palm crashed my cheek like an unexpected tsunami-sized stamp and i liked it

you told me, “run while you can i’m dangerous,”

but i stuck around to be buried in the dirt of the grave you dug me with “hello”

sometimes i’m convinced we only hug so you can check my hands for a shovel


Published inPoetryFictionChapel Hill