The Act Collection: 23
Art by Kim Salac
You love riding
with the windows down.
I hated it.
But then I rode
with them down
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.
I took that scenic route again
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Maybe I’m still waiting
for that text.
Do you wanna go fishing,
my license doesn’t expire
for another three months?
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.
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)
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.
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?)
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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