Spotlight: Some Thoughts About Why You Left / Sweet Tooth

Some Thoughts About Why You Left

We both tried to kill ourselves, you with
pills, me, with a razor and a bottle of wine,
You lied for me, to every doctor, every
nurse and social worker, you even bragged
to me how good you were,
at the lying, that is

And when it was your turn, I didn’t lie for
You, I told them what you meant to do, they
Kept you for two weeks, I called you every
Day and once you were out I came to see
you in your sad little trailer, my sons pacing
the small space between us,

The point is, even once my horizontal cuts
Had healed, white lines on my wrists, you
Were still the voice in the other room,
drowning out the reasons we tried,

In Vegas, on our wedding night I texted my
Ex from the bathroom, I sat on the toilet and
And cried into a hotel towel, not that I didn’t
Love you, but because my love for you
overlapped with my love for him, and how
could I belong to you, completely, when
threads of my heart lead me elsewhere and
our rings, like little prisons, bound me to
you, you who didn’t trust me to stay
without them?

The following morning I realized the truth
About the bars on the casino windows, how
they protect the losers from losing
everything that’s left, if anything.

When I chose to stop loving him, for good,
When I gave in to the idea of belonging to
you, I cut the threads, and the fabric of you
and me, unraveled, Who could have known
that your love depended on the distracted
quality of my affection, your loyalty, on the
fear of losing me to him?

The thing is, we tried, like people do, to
Leave this world on our terms, and you
loved me until you weren’t afraid, and I
loved you most when you didn’t care,

And now that you’re gone, we are leaving
Each other still, every day, the view
growing brighter yet.

Sweet Tooth

Even with our hair tucked inside baseball caps
Dressed in my father’s work shirts, a truck full of men
Twice our age followed us as we walked to a candy store,
Yelling profanities, like, did we want to suck their dicks
Or sit on their laps, how tight were we,
I was twelve and my cousin only ten,
We barely looked like girls, let alone women, we thought
we’d outsmart them this time for sure, but they’d caught
our scent, even when we took refuge in a Red Apple they
Were out in the parking lot waiting for us again, revving up
Their engine when all we wanted was to go home and play
Barbies, eat our Starburst and Skittles,
but the men
In the red Ford truck had other plans for us, that August
In the valley’s dry, sick heat, the layers
of men’s clothing
Didn’t breathe, and neither did we
for the moment when they
Slowed down as if to scoop us up,
they laughed when
I gathered rocks, threw handfuls
at their truck,
When I yelled, Leave us alone!
We are children! I told them
though they knew that already,
which is why the woman driving the station
wagon pulled up to the shoulder,
muttered an inaudible threat,
The truck lurched forward, angry and young
The men sped off, a cloud of dust sticking to our salty skin,
Marching back to the house on Viall Street
we chewed on Tootsie Rolls and caramels,
the sweetness weighing a million pounds
on our tongues, our baby teeth.

PE_6fac12d9-fb46-457a-90a7-b5028ea7d84c (1)Kristy Webster is the author of Coco, a magical realism novella, and Dream Dogs, a collection of short stories. Her work has been published in print and online journals such as Connotations Press, The Feminist Wire, Sirens, Molotov Cocktail, Pacifica Literary Review, and Ginger Piglet. Kristy’s work is also featured in two anthologies by GirlChildPress, Woman’s Work, and Just Like a Girl. She is a bookseller and writing tutor in Port Townsend, Washington.

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