Maybe I Believe Too Much in Signs
Tell me the dumbest story you know. No,
I’m serious. I’ll get this conversation going
with a confession: I don’t ever want to feel
like I did that day I was told, “You’re the most
self-obsessed girl in the world.” I won’t give
more clues about what happened on New Street
or why eye contact is so intermittent. Do you see
what I think I’m giving away? I had to prove I wasn’t
an egomaniac by following a narcissist across
a landmass. But tonight instead I’m documenting
what I look like when I’m content. I’ll forget
on Friday morning that my camera roll is full
of blurry, rye-soaked smirks, all because
you only sometimes give me your best
smile. Are you ready with a story yet?
Or are we still referring to this as “adventure”?
Don’t apologize in advance. Put your head
on my thigh to offset the bourbon. Sweet
man. I approach all with single mind, but shit
I’m always surprised when one man wants to get
to the good part, while another is a rock moving
across Death Valley. It’s all just selfies now,
no texting my ex-boyfriend to explain I miss
the heightened hope he’d help himself. If
only I didn’t have to listen, wishes are valid.
I’m sorry we won’t spend the longest day
of the year together, but I’m not ready to replace
that memory: Harlem in June with a best friend,
the now-ex, and a Cuban cigar. Holding his hand
was everything I wanted for an entire train ride.
It’s dumb, right? How far we’ve come from Times
Square meat signs to observatories named for men
with two first names. I don’t know if I could handle
another trial kiss. The photos are tilted and too dark
to know if it’s me or some other bitch who’s handled
one too many drinks. Have I mentioned your smile?
Are we there yet? And by “there,” I mean, is it over?
I’ve seen a closing, a hardening, a narrow space
that can barely fit anything more than a hand
on your knee and a kiss on your cheek. I’m focused
on the moment, and the best news is I can breathe.
About the Author: Laryssa Wirstiuk is a poet and writer based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her miniature dachshund Charlotte Moo. Her self-published collection of short stories The Prescribed Burn won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Laryssa was born and raised in New Jersey, and she spent a few years teaching creative writing at Rutgers. But now that she’s in LA, she can safely say that she’ll be okay if she never sees snow again. http://www.laryssawirstiuk.com; Twitter: @ryssiebee
Artwork: Brittany Bobois