rift and fracture
Double-parked on Broadway Ave.
we tried to decide our future. I just stared
at the scavenged bicycle frame
awash in the headlights.
I’d felt the same way a long time ago,
mixed wanting and disappointment.
My first boyfriend said “I love you,”
in low tones, fumbling idly with the gearshift
because he didn’t know what else to do
and wanted that to be enough.
At the flea market we thought we might discover an antique gem
Something to place beautifully inside a small craftsman home
As if life could be so easily realized through aesthetics.
Panic knotted a fist in my stomach. I didn’t want to find a signifier
Haphazardly sorting through the detritus of other lives.
You looked for chairs, and I felt a familiar ache ring through
The sounded call a reminder: holding on to things you can’t bear
To lose isn’t the same as wanting them around.
The notice on the train station bike rack
Pleads: if you are able and willing today
But I’m not. Not today, not tomorrow either.
I’m tired. I’ve been looking too long
At a reflection of a face I don’t know
Anymore. The past pulling at me
Like lines we cast down on the jetty,
Weighted lures pulling,
Metallic and jagged. I’m out of breath
From this fight, gasping
I wanted to be held and you couldn’t hold me––
Injured from running after less consequential things,
You couldn’t get close. I traded my strength
For yours & held on, grit teeth because I believed
In compromise, thought each disappointment
Purposeful enough to build something greater
Instead of simple subtraction. Sometimes
I am very tired.
And this pain, the pain of a good thing
That seems not to suffice, this wanting
Is nothing. The hole punched in the wall
When I was eight, that was something.
No one’s lying face down today
Nobody’s getting fed through a tube.
If we walk away today, it’ll sizzle
Like a burn on dead flesh, scar tissue
Numb and unnoticed
Until the stink of what’s charred black
Carries upwards. I won’t feel a thing.
in a house
like a mausoleum.
All the old pictures
still on the walls, the lace
in the cabinets, old dresses
in the closet
and you pretend
Raised in the shadow of Houston refineries, emily pinkerton currently lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University, and her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, BlazeVOX, Pith, and LEVELER, among others. Her first chapbook, Natural Disasters, was recently released with Hermeneutic Chaos Press in July 2016. Emily can be found online on Twitter as @neongolden and at thisisemilypinkerton.tumblr.com. Her favorite color is fog.