The Act Collection: 23

May 09, 2021
two eyes with tears below them and people playing flutes and holding branches, looking like Ancient Greeks

Art by Kim Salac

Act One

 

You love riding 

with the windows down.

I hated it.

But then I rode 

with them down 

without you,

and I understood.

Coming back from a place you once had said 

was the “scenic route.”

Now it’s really more my route than yours: 

does that make you mad?

I drove an extra twenty miles

just to take that exit you took me on

when there was a crash on the highway

to see if I would cry when my wheels came to a stop 

at the stop sign.

I hate having to stop.

 

Act Two

 

I took that scenic route again 

(my route)

to the place that used to be ours.

But now I have been there 

just as many times with friends

as I had been with you.

Replacement? 

It hurts, It stings, It tears.

 

The dirt path that I once looked over my shoulder

to see you walking on,

your loose jeans collecting mud on the bottom,

where the sun made the green in your eyes 

more jade than emerald,

it was the exact same,

minus your laugh.

 

Act Three

 

I didn’t feel as lost in the maze

with someone warm helping me through.

I no longer am the only guiding star in my sky;

I let others illuminate it all

when I feel low. 

 

I wondered, after the striking blow

if you truly thought I was too emotional,

or if that was a lie, told to make yourself feel better.

A spade in the wrong deck,

I think you broke under pressure.

 

Act Four

 

And I cried cried cried, 

in February, it wasn’t right.

The heist hitting the first week

of April, Karma, is that you?

And I hoped hoped hoped

that you were okay.

Waiting for a text,

no, wanting to text you.

But then you explained away

Everything

 

The thought of you ending back up

at the last place 

you made me leave you

without my support,

it’s metaphoric enough 

to make me laugh a bit

in the saddest of moments.

 

Act Five

 

Maybe I’m still waiting

for that text.

Do you wanna go fishing,

my license doesn’t expire

for another three months?

 

Act Six

 

That night you followed me,

the gray of your car looking more

like black, pulling next to me 

at the stop light, you said

“The best ice cream is up the road.”

I knew you weren’t 

pulling next to me, at a stoplight

at 12:14am for ice cream’s sake.

 

But then you admitted

to driving around for an hour—

the time it took for me to get home.

Thinking about me,

you picked up mint chocolate chip,

your favorite (me and the ice cream),

when you were done for the night

(with me and the drive).

our facetime was full.

of what? promises.

 

Act Seven

 

I wonder if your hands on the wheel

remember how you picked lavender

with me, your bouquet was better than mine.

you cut the stems at just the right length, 

I wanted too much from the fragrant flower.

It still smells like lavender, ten months later

(though now it lies on top of a different home)

 

Act Eight

 

I think I’d rather

send birthday wishes than not,

the anxiety of whether the text

will actually send

makes pools form at the corner of my eyes,

the ancient Greeks could bathe in them

without changing the water for days.

I’ll blame it on the pollen.

 

I would much rather say it than risk

not having tomorrow.

If there is anything this time has taught me,

it is to bear your bloody, bruised heart.

And if I were to leave this earth, 

without wishing you another happy birthday,

I think I’d rest in the in-between, no comfort to be found. 

 

Act 4/24, B

 

Today I found the necklace

you got me with your initial

secured in the middle

of shimmering gold wire. 

You thought I threw it away,

it was in my jewelry box

with a wedding ring and 

the other jewelry I stash away,

because I am too scared 

I might break it. 

 

Act Ten

 

And if you’re reading this now,

(like I think and hope you are)

wondering about the meanings between the titles,

I looked at the big dipper last night, 

and the night before that, 

and the night before that,

but I can’t find the little dipper anymore.

orion’s belt? no clue

can you help me? 

can you still navigate the sky? 

(could you ever?)

my heart? (the only one.)

this bridge? (why is it here?)

 

The Intermission?

 

Back to the pools in my eyes—

every tear that falls

reminds me that I don’t want to fight.

My heart is too soft,

and vindictiveness doesn’t matter 

when you’ve lost the one you love

(why weren’t you there?

I was alone,

you said you’d be there). 

 


 

The Final Act for Lulu and Kim

 

This is it.

Writers accompanying each other,

Bearing our bones, with cracks

Down the middle

Heal heal heal, 

Try again, keep going. 

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