i am a woman-thing who enjoys long walks in the dark,
past the cvs with its overworked employees
closing, cherry coke drying on my tongue.
through the gap between the subway and the starbucks
until the buzz of customers beings to cease
and the murky quiet of
midnight hits this college town like a
train on a forlorn tuesday night.
above me, like a bed of nails, snow begins to fall
soft in my eyes; sweet on my tongue.
my phone is to my ear, remarks leave my mouth.
i am so happy for my mother and her new puppy who has not peed in the house today.
my best friend’s new car tracing the roads of california is messy. i will help her clean it.
yes, i agree to my director, college applications are a personal hellscape.
laughter, as another friend tells me that he’s heard this story before. he’ll hear it again.
the night chill and residual lovesickness coloring my face as i tell my girlfriend i’ll see her soon.
dad, please stop asking about my papers and the pile of laundry in my dorm room. i have been making the
i chatter, an intermittent promise in the
breeze that if the moon looks upon the
sidewalks, makes them shine the same way my nightlights
used to at the age of nine, i will be
walking these familiar routes
i buy myself a warm cookie,
gooey chocolate under my fingernails, behind my teeth
sweetening the parts of me that have been waiting to be healed in the night
resisting the surrender of ‘going home,’ when nowhere quite fits me and
nowhere is immune to my outgrowth.
beckoning the winter into my sleeves
and embracing its coolness
with my newfound warmth.
i look behind me. i retrace my steps.
although this is happiness, it isn’t peace.
in a whisper, i tell my phone, the loved ones in it
i’m on my way back, mom, i promise i’m okay. there’s this app i can use for emergencies on campus.
oh please, i know this block like the back of my hand. my best friend reminds me other people know it
really been getting to know marshall street, just like you probably did too, i share.
i could use you here. nobody would bother to approach me. you’re tall enough. secure.
i’m sorry, baby, my girlfriend texts me back once i recount my being catcalled. smile, sweetheart!
my dad hums. right on, you’re so free, that’s my girl. he doesn’t worry. he doesn’t know.
i thank the mercy of the car headlights—witnesses— and pouring
rain—deterrent— as i reenter my dorm building. i have been protected again, got away unscathed from an escape that shouldn’t be such a risk.
i am a woman-thing,
and i am scared that my days are numbered.
i am looking behind me.
Del is a creative writing and linguistics undergrad at Syracuse University. She focuses on classic civilizations, language, queer identity, homoeroticism, anger, the supernatural, and those pesky deer on the edges of our peripheral, waiting to run into our headlights, so desperate to be seen. You can find her works in The Graveyard Zine, Ice Lolly Review, The Good Life, and Not Deer Mag, as well as https://delightfullyunhinged.substack.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.