A body says, “Hello.” Another body does not reply. A body says, “Hello.” Again. Another body does not reply. A body walks into a bad joke. A body feels like a bad joke. A body tries to tell a bad joke to another body and another body walks away. A body has breakfast alone. A body skips lunch alone. A body has coffee alone. A body has dinner alone. A body says, “Loneliness is not the unyielding force but the soft buoyancy of humid air that no one else can see.” A body says, “Loneliness is not the story locked in the past but the inability to explain what happened.” Or the inability to find someone who will listen. A body says, “Loneliness is trying as hard as you can but still failing because (insert your beliefs about failing here).” A body sees. A body tastes. A body touches. A body feels the memories a body doesn’t want to feel. A body blocks them out. A body smothers them with a crashing wave. A body pounds them into the ground and refuses to let them breathe even for one second. A body can’t let them breathe for even a second. A body hears a body’s fist connect with what a body cannot kill. A body smells a body’s blood. A body wonders how a body got hurt when a body was supposed to be inflicting all the hurt, all the punishment.
I lean my head against the point where two mirrors join together in a museum exhibit and suddenly I am one girl split into three. This is educational. This is sacred division. I whisper softly to us but they don’t answer my prayers for rescue, escape. I can only mimic their arms with my arms and I cannot decipher the secret within our bodies.
The rough stars
I look into the mirrors and there are girls who wear my face but not my memories. I look into the mirrors, I look at us and I am so happy that at least some of us are free. When I stand they turn their backs to me and greet their secret, intangible worlds. I cannot go with them when I walk away.
This poem was first published in Atlas Poetica in 2015 and republished in Girl + Muse.