by Emily K. Fisk

Artwork, “Stressors” by Sarahlaine Calva


It was over for me when we woke up –

like an archipelago separated our bodies, intertwined in sheets

of your lies, I no longer recognized you.

On our first date, you snuck me onto a roof and made me feel alive (again) –

as if I were breathing in your beauty with every step we took under the stars’ eyes,

you were new.

And you walked a tightrope too scared to reach for my hand – emotionally handicapped –

nervous smiles danced in our irises as goodbye left our lips,

I was falling.

But I think you tripped.

Even as confessions slipped out of your mouth as fast as (gin, fireball, whiskey) alcohol went in,

I held you as you sleep talked.

I’m not supposed to know.

When I said yes to you, I said no to him, and you said yes to her.

My name is not “Elaine.”

Now the hairs on your arm touch my chest from islands away, so I don’t feel

you say, “There aren’t enough benefits” for you.

I already know.

The last three nights unintentionally together and

I’m more of a burden than a good time –

Because once the words “I’m okay with you hooking up with other guys,” entered the air

my feelings for you swam the other direction, but my body couldn’t yet commit.

My eyes stayed present last night just long enough to see you,

but failed us the moment they watched you leave the room.

Three am on a Wednesday and your genitals are searching for an apology?

I’d already met dawn enough for this week.

The words, “I went to play video games till 5 because you fell asleep,”

dropped from your lips like a 12-year- old boy learning what puberty is.

I apologize.

But if you weren’t aware, a social life and schoolwork aren’t mutually exclusive,

kind of like what you want from this –

an arrangement?

Immaturity emanates from your sense of entitlement

as if you have some title to my body because you’ve had it before.

I do not owe you.

And what graces your lips makes me wonder if I ever knew you. Or him.

Or if either even existed.

It’s hard to believe such polar opposites of the same person could be anything beyond fragmented

figments of a hopeless romantic’s mind.

But I’ve always thought dreams could translate to nightmares if the right words were said.

I guess you found those words.

Because I’m ready to wake up

and even sooner forget.

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