i am unsure about a lot of things but i
am most unsure of how to feel
knowing you are gone.

i am certainly happy away
from the boyfriend. he kept tally
of us like he was renting you out. i am certainly
happy away from being your experiment.

i am
happy—maybe—away from our desperate 3am calls, our
windows left open, the rows we kept down
to a whisper. we were a contest of containing
our hissed viciousness.

i am mostly happy away from our silence, you,
asking for, loving me for my silence. we kept ourselves
large enough to slice & sting
like the lemon juice you ritually
prepared and sucked down.

once we stood naked in a gym locker room &
you couldn’t stop twisting & staring & staring
at yourself in the mirror. i can’t stand it. you said.
i think about that a lot.
i think about it when i am shower-dripping
in my bathroom & look at the body that has folded
over itself.

but i definitely desert-empty miss you knowing me
gentle. fast-growing vine wrapping tendons round my
sleeping limbs. consuming me, you muddled my mind
& planted elderberries in the compost. you cradled
my neck, wandered downward & always asked does this
feel good
—because you wanted to know, even before
we grew out of our young greed.

when i think about loving someone i think about
loving you. i don’t know what it looks like on
anyone else. i only know how it looks on you, your
long fingers drawing me someplace warm & slowly
turning me to glass. i can take the pain. i can even
take the mending. but if you are love i need to
convince myself
to want none of it.

these days—you by the ocean, me, here—it seems as if it’s
in the miles between us. we are soaked
through. we are just two “difficult” women trying
too hard to make too much
right—including each other.
we spin further away with each lunar cycle, gathering
years, resentment, dropped lovers, forgiveness
to burnish a new strength in our winds.

Tara Labovich is an editor, creative consultant, and intuitive counsellor. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, where she writes poetry and prose circling around issues of identity, ancestry, queerness, and survivorship. Tara was awarded the first place prize in the Adelaide Bender Reville Prize for Creative Non-Fiction. Her work has been published in journals such as Ink In Thirds, Vita Brevis, Green Briar Review, Cipher, leviathan, and Owl Tree.

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