Little Fictions

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ALAINA PEPIN

 
 

I hoard newspapers, slice out obituaries, and glue

peonies in their place. My elbows smeared with ink,

I stand in the shower for an hour naming

each fish on the plastic curtain before I let myself

remember my blue dress in a tangled lump

on your floor, my thighs wrapped around your waist,

sweat slick on your leather couch. I try to think

of elephants instead. Of museums filled with ice picks

and tea kettles. How each memory is its own little fiction,

that I still believe every one.

I read online that elephants never forget a face. That day, I blacked out

my mirror with a Sharpie and scratched a song

about cancer from my favorite record. Sometimes

when I think of you, I think of rain on a green canoe.

My arms are sore from rowing, from hanging the same picture

of you on the backs of my eyelids each night. From climbing

the trunks of birch trees in my sleep, and pulling my hair

from the threads of your pillowcase.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this isn't an apology.

It's more like a eulogy for the stones that hold down 60 missing

newspaper clippings, and for your grandfather. For the smell

of grass stained into your jeans and a peach sunrise in March. It's a prayer

for every lone wool mitten in the library's lost and found box.

For a ticket to any other fucking town.