Leaving Behind by Ally Malinenko

Some time last year
or the year before that
you said that there was nothing wrong with being hopeful
as long as I don’t make a habit of it
and I know now,
with the veins on the backs of hands bulging,
the bones and sinew warping like wood,
how right you are.

I can feel the cells sloughing off,
the coming age, the dying, the next decade,
the pull of gravity and each time I see that girl
in the pictures of us when we were younger,
I hate her a little more.

Back home there is mostly quiet
where there used to be rap music
and you said that tonight, when you get in
with a six-pack we’ll take it down to the Narrows
and watch the lights disappear.
You said we need to stop taking everything so seriously

And that makes me feel pretty damn hopeful.
Cause the best thing about us has always been our triviality
little kisses and faces drawn with sharpies. The way you make
me howl with laughter, cupping my big mouth, in a serious movie.
The huffing and sighing everyone else does. Their dirty little jealousy.

I want to stay like this but I said that ten years ago and it didn’t work.
Besides, my nails are breaking off, paging through these books.
Little pieces of me I’m leaving behind in different cities
across this country. I can’t stop getting older.
What am I if not 22 and stubborn?
Something was left behind a few years ago
back in the first city.
You know I don’t like to talk about it but I know it as well as you
that things aren’t going to stay the same.

Last weekend the radio was talking just to me
a static whir till the dj broke through and offered
up some resolution. I wrote down what he said.
It’s another absolution.

I realized that I failed
because in the end, I probably don’t have the stamina
to stay in one place.
I’m washing away bit by bit
tiny suicides, part by part.

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Black-Listed Magazine is an online literary magazine. We publish on a rolling basis: weekly, daily, sometimes hourly. Send submissions here: blacklistedmagazine@hotmail.com

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