on the first day, she curls cold fingers around the bars
of a bike, bars
of a cage,
bars on windows.
on the second day, her tea tastes like seawater.
it’s supposed to be mint, but
she can’t get the kelp out from between her two front teeth
on the third day, she gets papercuts between her
fingers (it’s an accident)
and it hurts a little to flip off the next door neighbor, but
it always hurts a little
so what else is new?
on the fourth day, she falls in love
he’s got chocolate-cliche-whiskey-honey-brown-cliche eyes
teenage dream she wants to stay sleeping in
she loves his curly hair, his high-top shoes, the way he sometimes forgets she’s in the room when he plays piano
the way he sometimes forgets she’s in the room at all
the way he sometimes forgets to be kind to her
or maybe he’s remembered;
she can’t care either way
because he smiles and she feels like she’s in a disney movie
and on the fifth day she falls out of love, maybe.
it’s forced, a little painful, a little numb.
like ripping off a bandaid.
she doesn’t want to leave him behind, she tells herself, knowing
that he left her in the dust miles ago-
but his footprints in the earth look enough
like his ghost that she can follow his winding path for another inch,
just long enough that she can pretend he is still dancing with her,
or that he ever danced with her at all.
on the sixth day- what now?
if all she had was loving him (and what kind of man loves like that?)
if all she had was him, and he’s far away
and doesn’t know how many nights his name was cried into her pillow
then what now?
where to? asks the cab driver, and she wipes the mascara from her cheeks and shakes her head.
the car needs repairs, it doesn’t go in reverse very well these days,
but she’s never been great with directions and she doesn’t know which exit to take, only
that she wants to get off the highway.
on the seventh day
(by now she should be a phoenix, should rise up, shaking ashes from her hair, and smile against the fire of something new, but
on the seventh day, she sleeps in.
tomorrow’s problems can wait until then.)
on the seventh day,