we drank hot chocolate from silver-rimmed china
around a polished wooden table
i found your big toe beneath it
punching through the canvas
while eating macaroons
why are you running away?
she asked us
i stood up tall
on my toes
you would too
if your home
was like ours
california state university. sacramento. i got lost on the campus again, after dark. asked for directions no less than three times. i know why they call it eureka hall. the moment i found it i felt that way. the kids were packed in the classroom, florence gave me a big smile and i took my place on the panel. the three stories came before mine were nothing short of inspirational. i hoped my truth could keep the spirit alive. about halfway through my story i found the pulse. the faces began to light up. these are difficult memories to draw. i told them how i owed forgiveness to my dearly departed cat. around 2001 Raccoon turned on me and slashed me in the face with his claws. that’s when i knew what an asshole i had become, deep in the heart of addiction.
you go without sleep you
cannot stop talking about it
you push aside all what matters
to most people
they think you are crazy
obsessed. sometimes you believe them
your heart has been inspired
to tell the world
the clock struck five. the sun was eye level and had turned the bridge gold. i was in a fight for my life. i ran as fast as i could. he was standing there trying to look bored, a blade taped to his ankle, roll of cash in his pocket. just in time. i had my tights on beneath a canvas jacket. we walked along the homeless encampment with its tents and bicycle parts and indigents sitting around a smoking fire. i won’t take nothing if you’re not done yet. i told him i was. i had spent the last four weeks chained to a desk writing several thousand words a day. i pulled the manuscript out from under my jacket. he tried to stare at the cracks in the sidewalk because he didn’t want me to see his eyes light up. i took the money and bought myself a room for a week at the Citizen. i asked for a window to the park so i could look down upon the high fountain surrounded by benches…the cafe. Cesar Chavez had his back to me. i remembered when i was down and out, too. i situated my desk just so. it wouldn’t take long to tell the honest truth.
How could i harbor ill will toward you in your panda bear pajamas? i asked you please take them off so we could go on fighting. you were making the funny sounds only pandas make. you refused the burgers i cooked us for lunch. i found you terrorizing the plants. thank god the kid was at school. i shoved you in our pet carrier, drove you to the sanctuary and released you deep in the forest. you bounded away. i was at home reading the newspaper days later when i heard and saw your paws on the glass. you were staring at me, head swollen with white hairs growing heavy on your face. such dark circles under and around your eyes. fortunately the kid was at school. i opened the door and you bolted in. you climbed the staircase by the banister and went to hide. i found you in the laundry basket with our clothes. i spoke to you softly. the basket started humming and i knew you understood. all my anger subsided. i could tell your heart was happy. i made a foolish decision, they say. i got myself tiger jammies from deedees, our favorite thrift. the kid was at school. thank god she’s learned the computers so she can pay our bills online, and order all our oats and seeds and plants in bulk from south america. how else would we survive?
For a time we lived in squalor before we won the lottery on a simple scratcher that made us two hundred dollars which we fought about how to distribute, then agreed to use half of it to pay our landlord back, took the remaining hundred to the casino and made a thousand, fought some more after the champagne toast, and paid off our credit card with half of that, took five bills to the race track and made five thousand on Lucky Sinner, invested in a multi level marketing scheme and doubled that on diet pills, took a trip to Hawaii and made love on a beach of hot lava while tripling our profits on bitcoin, bought a Tesla back in the States, drove it to Reno and lost a quarter of our earnings on blackjack, stayed with it, switched to craps, sold our souls to the devil on a payment plan, made it back to black and then some. we saw our luck was yet alive. we sank all our profit into the dark web for a windfall, flipped a few houses in the city, and now we live like kings and queens and pay someone to clean up after us and our drone armada which takes up half our six car garage. i like to watch you race them on the weekends. i have my yoga studio on the mezzanine floor. i can now stand on my head for five minutes and kiss my toes. funny how we still start our day like we did before we had anything: a pot of coffee, cigarettes, and our defiant kinda love. i suppose that’s something hard living gave us. that’s something real and coded with a tang pushing off the aura. i love you. let’s never let it go.
(this story, by Katya Mills, originated on Wattpad.
wild sockeye salmon
broiled with sprouts potatoes and stuffing and
she liked it. we talked about our lives. i got caught up
in the story of my past and overshared. i could
you got a real friend when you
decide to stick around despite the urge to run
shake the salt and pepper and
it only brings you