Saturday 24 June 2023

'All of These Things, I'd Like to Have, Just One More Time' by Jeanine Skowronski

The straps of an oversized JanSport hovering over my bony shoulders, a tenderized textbook held over a too-fast beating heart; a salad with Sunday dinner, but made by Grandpa Gino: the standard ingredients tossed with lemon (not vinegar), salt, pepper, unwashed hands; eau de Grandma Gigi, garlic cloves and Shalimar; my father telling me to look both ways before crossing the street; my boots, those black leather boots, lace-ups with thick rubber soles that bounced off the hard surfaces of campus, heels that held together long after they should have fallen apart; a late night at The Green Hand: vodka shots in rocks glasses, Depeche Mode on the jukebox, the swish-swish of my 25-year-old hips; my mother snapping me out of another broken heart; coffee after a two-hour commute, triple skim latte, milk mustache cooling in the autumn breeze; a happy Halloween — you, you, only you, just you, you at that costume party in a wrestler’s singlet; you whispering “I love you” into my neck on Christmas Eve; you in our shoestring apartment, in our first house, that money pit with the post-mounted mailbox; you leaving love notes on my palms in blue ballpoint pen; you biting your lip as my brother licked sauce from his fingers; you flipping me off in photos, picking up after our dogs, setting the salmon to broil; you beneath the cheese rind brim of your baseball cap, you in black — no, of course not, you in blue, your color, all those shirts, the Superman tank, the plaid Orvis, that long-sleeved thermal, first too small, later too big, your forearms still thick even as other parts withered, still holding me as I tried to support you; you, just you, all of you, again, again, again.

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