Scott Dexter CC
Portrait of Everyone I’ve Ever Loved Who Never Loved Me Back
holy shit. i’m in the passenger seat of my mother’s car, driving through someone’s hometown in ohio, and i start throwing up moonlight. i can’t make this shit up. i was looking at the stars and i started thinking about everything i’ve ever wanted to be and everything i’ll never become. and there i was, passenger seat, moonlight pouring out of me like a virus. years earlier, i’m kneeling in a crowded high school hallway, and i start throwing up desire. i had just told a girl i loved her and all she said was okay. like i just told her the weather forecast for the rest of the week. like i didn’t just confess to my own loneliness. years later, i’m sitting in my college literature class, and i see a girl who looks like someone i could’ve loved in an alternate universe and i start throwing up grief. a few weeks later, she sits next to me in class, and i start throwing up grief again but this time in the shape of ghosts. but she doesn’t mind it. she doesn’t even flinch when my ghosts splatter onto her backpack. years earlier, i’m skyping this girl from missouri that i used to love, and get this: i start throwing up emptiness. this girl is watching me through her phone screen as i throw up emptiness and all she does is sigh. like she knows this won’t be the last time i throw up some part of myself for someone who can’t love me back. do you remember the girl from my college literature class who reminded me of someone i could’ve loved in an alternate universe? well a year later, i’m sitting in the passenger seat of their car and i start throwing up ache and it’s everywhere. there’s ache on the glovebox and the windshield and the windows and the dashboard. there’s even bits of ache in their hair. and all they do is smile. they smile because what else are you supposed to do when someone you can’t love is throwing up ache all over the inside of your car? and years later, i’m driving around my hometown in pennsylvania, and i start thinking about how here i can be anything. even loved. so i start throwing up every version of myself i’ve ever been.
Annalisa Hansford’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in The West Review, Vagabond City, Ghost City Review and The Lumiere Review. They are probably listening to Gracie Abrams and drinking an iced vanilla matcha latte.
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