by Rosalie Hendon
Artist: Varina Patel
She’s gorgeous. Olive skin, black hair, bright eyes.
You and I are both gringos attracted to mates
who were born speaking our chosen language.
I realized, watching the two of you talk about reality tv,
that’s she’s perfect for you.
Cuts to the point.
Politely, firmly disagrees when you launch into a tangent,
get on your soapbox.
I used to get lost in your musings, swirled in your eddies, never disagreed.
Never argued. Always listened, tried to follow you down the rabbit hole.
She is your other half, practical, realistic.
She’ll keep you grounded, won’t let you float away.
Did I imagine the slight coldness in her tone, her gaze?
Did she cup her hand protectively over her burgeoning belly?
What stories have you told her–
how I pursued you for over a year?
Threw myself across your enigmatic path?
What did she make of your old high school friend
perched on a bar stool in your shared kitchen,
talking doulas and college trips?
Did you tell her we went climbing on roofs once in downtown Tallahassee,
that I made you verbalize every hand- and foot-hold as you led the way?
We tiptoed around skylights, balanced along the ridge,
hoisted ourselves onto the next roof, the next.
When I think of you, I think of your voice above me in the darkness
my hands on rough concrete
my mind urging my body upward.
I think of you, silhouetted against the stars as you jumped
and the shock through my body that you were alive, that you made it.
Rosalie Hendon (she/her) is an environmental planner living in Columbus, Ohio. Her work is published in Change Seven, Pollux, Willawaw, Write Launch, and Sad Girls Club, among others. Rosalie is inspired by ecology, relationships, and stories passed down through generations.