map Milky Blue

by Emily Bueckert

Published in Issue No. 238 ~ March, 2017

I called a friend and we talked about the variables in crossing a street, like what if halfway across you realize that there is nothing on that sidewalk in front of you that will make you feel any different than you do here on this asphalt in the in-between and you just really can’t be bothered to carry this mass of meat all the way to the other side because it seems to be getting heavier and the curb keeps rising and as much as you hate to be an inconvenience for the people in these cars you just need to sit down right

A stranger once grabbed my body because I was presenting it to him by leaving my house, as though the sidewalk is a lawless lost and found. I was pulled into a friend’s car by my hair where she quietly closed the door so that she could scream without bothering anyone. No sympathy for the sad.
Throw away cares and pretend that the couch is the dream. It’s under the cushions, it’s between the tiles on the floor. It’s the sound of easy snoring while you have to will yourself into existence every morning. Sit to avoid white marble stairs coming up to meet your face.
Sit but then you’re sitting at a swimming pool by yourself and your legs are swinging over the side, feet in water knees under palms. Swinging your feet just like you watched someone swinging theirs from the side of an overpass. There is no sympathy for the sad and I’ve never really helped anyone. Them in the dark and you in the water, always assuming that after they swung their legs over they swung them right back because there is solace to be found in using a rib cage as a pillow, and in letting someone buy you breakfast. I let someone buy me breakfast, and over pancakes I ground my teeth down to smaller and smaller waves. Pool bottom elbow scabs don’t keep me floating.
From hot to warm to empty cup, I put tea bags against my eyes in the hopes that I could see the future in the leaves. I saw vomit in a bonfire and my own feet trailing up some stairs, which is the closest I’ll ever get to flying. These aren’t dreams but things I remember through telling, experienced through repetition. As clearly as though I ate it for breakfast. I spoke them through the tiny hairs on my tongue shed from body parts that you’ve never cared with, only used for a sense of purpose because without giving me mine you wouldn’t have one.
A person made of raked up leaves, I knew it was just dust mites moving under your skin simulating a hug and a hand hold. You told me to fuck off as if I was there for you, and then you fell asleep holding my hand like it can be so nice to do. The knees of my jeans were all stretched out along with my fingers reaching for bottles of whiskey that weren’t mine. Nothing was mine except for the headache.
You’re living the love life of a magician. Rub your lover’s back until they bend like a spoon, cut off their legs until they fall in Stockholm syndrome with you. You have bad luck so they have to learn how to turn us into fools. Sucker punch until slack jaw, sweet talk until sick.
I’m not sure what kind of person I was before spitting bits of you back at you, but now I exist to mingle with the fish bones stuck in the back of your throat.
I swear I was drinking water.

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Based in Alberta, Canada. I’ve self published my work in three zines, one of which (Slackjaw) was reviewed by Broken Pencil in issue 69, and had a piece of short fiction published in the 9th issue of The Chapess.