17 Aug Lora Mathis
WHAT CONTINUES TO STICK
He is playing the same bars
Hosting parties with the same friends attending
Probably still keeping a ziplock full of speed in his front pocket
and fingering the small white pills as he tells a girl how much he has read about War.
While I am here,
in a city he has not visited,
still writing poems.
Gone from that town.
Deleted from social media.
My name— a night ruiner,
not to be spoken at the bar,
avoided in conversation with his new girlfriend.
This is the truth I keep getting stuck on.
How he can continue
shaping new bodies into burning bullet zones,
while I am a river whose loss is building
a whole new canyon
in the mountain of myself.
These men have taken all the cities I once claimed as home.
The loudness of their memory makes me afraid to return even to visit close friends.
They continue their lives.
They keep their jobs.
They still shares beers with the friends that were once ours.
They drive the same tree-lined dusty driveway routes,
and are not met with any horrible apparitions of memory.
Now even years later,
in the controlled stillness of my bedroom,
surrounded by things I accumulated after knowing them,
wearing clothes they have never seen me in,
I am still stuck —
nails deep in the scraping the thick gum of their unchanged lives off my shoes.
Lora Mathis is a nonbinary poet & artist living in Philly. They coined the term “radical softness” and create work centering healing and vulnerability. Their second full-length collection poems, instinct to ruin is available online.