For Olivia


dear diary, I am writing this
sitting in a kitchen you just bought

listening to The Lumineers from
your laptop and doesn’t that sound

so pretentious, like a hairline Google font
or a “what would Blaire Waldorf do?”

coffee mug, clinking it against yours
as the album replays, and we work


you pick out a Chuck Palahniuk quote
from Rant and of course you love it,

it’s a collision of words that must keep John Green
up at night sweating, wishing

he had the balls to write what everyone
is actually thinking versus

just what he thinks everyone
(except for you) wants to hear


like housewives we drink your roommate’s
Riesling on a pull-out futon in your living room

after watching In Bruges, and I think about
who really orders hits on hitmen, anyway,

and if your murder is unavoidable, why
does it have to be by the hand

of a friend when a stranger
would work just as well


McKinley, stay in Brooklyn, we could do this
every night, just getting shit done, you know,

and yes, okay, of course I know
exactly what it is I am letting go


it’s February and my grandfather has just
died, and I don’t want to see anyone

(except for you) so I rent a hotel room for the night
where we can watch the Oscars

and when Spotlight wins, I wonder if the
untold stories with enough history to fill

whole newspapers left for future generations
are the stories that matter the most


dear diary, I am writing this
staring at a poster of squiggly letters you

conjured up from imagination, a fake
author appearance poster for Barnes & Noble

and even though having Daniel Handler sign the last book
in A Series of Unfortunate Events would be

a tick off my bucket list—all he or I can do
is string together words, but you bring them to life


no one walks into a room actively planning to leave
but sooner or later it happens anyway, you know,

and every room is either a place you’re going
to leave or the place you’re going to die

McKinley Keener is a senior at Guilford College. She watches just enough Netflix to be a college student and writes about it just enough to be considered an English major concentrating in film. Her work has appeared in Juked, Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bed-Stuy

  1. Jeff says:

    Nice job! And Greensboro, huh? Small world!

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