Everything converges.
The bright orange of the sun
streaking the mountains, the cool
evergreens, the rippling water
from the breeze rushing in and out,
leaves rustling to and fro,
birds singing, squirrels skittering,
all to this moment, for the journey
has fallen behind, and this is all
that is left. The bright and dark
spots left for those to wander.

she stood in water
unmoving,
her skin exposed

she closed her eyes as
still images
rushed toward her

her legs grew into a tail fin
and she dove deep to
where the water stopped and earth
opened up

she touched her hands down
and pushed off until she broke
the surface and it all came out
her breath deep and hollow,

lungs tight and grasping onto
the surface

then she reached again, feeling
herself open, the water calling and
she swam beneath and
stayed there

letting everything inside float out around her

Marissa Straw Mar 13

You think about people like that now and then.
People change or they don’t or you think they do but never did.
Circles and circles of what exactly you should talk about.
Sometimes as you’re talking you get those flashes of maybe this could…
But, you remember the silly shit.
The teenaged mind of self-conscious acts, on repeat.
Do I think that maybe I could...
And you get eaten alive by mosquitoes during the day,
And at night during the summertime
The same pavement, the same circle.
You wanna look up at the stars and put yourself far far away
From the past year, the life you thought you were never going to have
But, you can’t because you remember
That I can’t have these times, this life
Of hanging out, lying on the couch
With not a care in the world.

Marissa Straw Mar 13

She knew about Sandra, how Sandra would like
to kiss her, to hold her, to
wrap her up in a film of smoke
that she keeps at her bedside, with a
pair of stained underwear and
an old photograph of me and you.

I had written to you
once in tiny letters about how I apparently dislike
girls; with their cattiness and
backwards talk. To
you I was an insecure little girl, a
little girl who just wanted a smoke

and a bottle of gin. Sandra used smoke
like I used dick. “You
are beautiful,” she would say, a
simple truth. “I like
you, I do, but you’re drunk.” To
her I was cruel and

maybe I was. But she already had someone and
all I had was the empty promises from boys and her smoke
filled lungs; enough to
fill the pool. Do you
remember what it was like
that summer? Do you remember a

moment underwater, a
look from you and
I was drawn like
that smoke
in you
to

my mouth. You didn’t want me to
try it though, a
small simple inhale. “You
know what I like?”  No, and
that’s it really. No smoke.
No draw. No bed for what I like.

Marissa Straw Mar 13

I remember looking down on myself
sitting on the bed across from him.
I remember being inside myself opening
the door for him moments earlier.
His hair, his smile, his broad shoulders.
The jacket, too warm for
North Carolina weather, brown and
stretched against his aged body.
I remember looking up into his eyes
a cold, but sparkling ocean
waiting to swallow me up.
I remember his inability to touch me
at the doorstep. Then the door
slamming behind him,
my soul slipping through the crack.
I remember my projected self
trying to follow us upstairs. Only,
fading into the off-white carpet.
I remember trying still to watch
my body somehow tolerating
a man’s taste that I can’t
for the life of me
remember.

Marissa Straw Mar 11

It’s hard to say what I think about as I lie upon your chest.
I tell myself many things, open wounds
and empty rooms. Everybody says, “you
aren’t like the rest” and “you’re just a fucked up mess.”
Body calls them angel tears—they just appear.
you, YOU, got typewriter notes and unspoken votes.
It’s hard to bare the unfair. Wear makeup for the takeup.
Hard to say when a kiss no longer lingers, and your
leg touches your fingers.
Hard to say.

Marissa Straw Jul 2016

His image is muddled
We see his hand wave from his mouth and down and back again
He tosses a smoke into the trash and then we are in the theatre
The seats are red and I am in the middle
The middle sees fractures coming and going from a slot in the wall behind us, shadows and light
We see his hair
It is dark and the middle is still.

He reaches down
                               The middle
                                                   Is still.

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