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Apr 4
1.
I spent most of the day on the train from Boston –
writing poems and thinking
of how to undo the mess. I still haven’t found the answer.
My uncle takes me to the Met for the first time –
so much art and so much time
forever onward. Upstairs
modern art canvases, big plain swatches
of bright color. I want to stare for hours
get lost in blues and greens, but it’s closing time
so we get dinner and go back to the apartment.
Beneath the red light and behind curtains
of the same color, I blow up the air mattress
but I don’t fall asleep for hours.

2.
I’m supposed to make breakfast
but they shut the water off. Left
to my own devices, I go to Union Square
and duck in and out of stores all day,
no one to keep me company. Bitter wind skims
off the pavement. I can’t even open my eyes
long enough to see the faces in the park.
Tuesday, when I came home early after cheap dinner
and felt guilty for not doing more. I tried to get ice cream -
one whole hour just to circle a few streets.
I realized – the only day we’ve gone without speaking
in over a year. It feels so good. Maybe it’s cheating
if you reach out and I just don’t respond. But the wound bleeds
every time I open it, and just once I want to give it time to heal.

3.
The long morning where we talk about silence
from people we used to love. Except it’s not sad –
I couldn’t be happier. You’re not joining the army
and I’m not staying in West Virginia. I make hardboiled eggs
before going to Chelsea. I spend hours alone in a museum
but this time I don’t hear the music. I overhear conversations
and write them down for safekeeping. Better than words
getting lost forever. We get pizza and ice cream
and talk about the past. Dad’s in the hospital – has been for a week,
no one told me. Suddenly the ice cream is sour instead of sweet.
Later I hear his voice and he sounds okay. We make plans for the weekend.
I break the silence after one day. Nothing’s changed – it’s worse now.
Whatever – we don’t have to talk. I get wine drunk in a basement
and laugh because everything is so absurd. We get dumplings
and I ride the wrong subway back, the one that makes too many stops.
I’m still trying to figure out the balance
between avoidance and acceptance. One day
I’ll get there. I feel like I’ve been dipped in boiling water,
skinned and left raw. Tomorrow I’m going home
and there’s not enough time. For what I’m not sure –
ever since I stopped wearing the watch on my wrist
it feels like the world is moving so fast I can’t notice,
an illusion of stillness. I shouldn’t have sent that last text –
I always say too much at the end. Always teaching myself
to trip over my own words.

4.
Mornings have become slow and still here.
I never used to linger like this, but maybe it’s a blessing.
Now I can take things in. Old haunts in a city
where part of me grew up. I make grocery lists
for the people I love. Maybe there’s a better way
to care for someone – but I like narrow aisles
and neon lights and people getting what they want.
If I’m alone I can do anything I want. Walk to Central Park
and sit in the sun. Or look at old books. So much time
looking and not reading – does it matter
if I never see the words inside? I wish I was a ***** fish
living in the gutters. I’d swim and swim until I lost my eyes.
I miss the simple landscapes of being home. But I’ll be back
soon. Trains like bookends. Movement like blinking.
Before I leave my uncle asks what I learned and I say
“that I’m capable.” He doesn’t ask of what –
I don’t have an answer. It’s like I used to say –
roll with the punches, or with the trains,
or just roll home.
03.14.19.
Lilli Sutton
Written by
Lilli Sutton  22/F/Shepherdstown, WV
(22/F/Shepherdstown, WV)   
321
       Wk kortas and David Noonan
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