She is teaching me to play the piano, says this is the last thing she has
for me. But I am all left handed, emotional, banging on the sharps and flats.
Still, she gets me. We are both run on sentences, bitter
highs and baby doll lows. She knows why I only write when I’m sad.
She knows that I don’t live in the gray, it’s where I go to remember myself.
That I always come back. She does not stop me, or ask me to change
any of my bad habits, not when I flick the lighter and inhale, not when I bite
my nails, not when I cry for the entire weekend and forget to return her calls,
start taking antidepressants instead, not even when she has to pull me out
of the medication like a drunk from a bar.
She sees the apocalypse in me, slips a pencil in my hand, only stops my railing
against the wood and ivory long enough to make notes:
Here is where he promises you forever.
Here is where he makes you say it first.
Like an Ativan slipped under the tongue, she will not let me go,
and I know she is with me now, hands over mine, breath in ear.
Here is where she never smiles back,
all the times you bit your lower lip.
I am working the foot pedals, all twelve years of musical instruction
come flooding back, like my hands never left
an instrument, my lips crack.
I chalk up time signatures, crazy ones
no partner will ever be able to follow
and Fiona, she is laughing now at the abandon of it all.
We are both laughing with the dizzying graveyard orchestra
love has left us to dance alone in.
Here is where he says return the favor.
Here, where he insists he is right.
Here is the fading ink of his letters, the house
you both built blowing away board by board.
When I know it’s almost done,
and the red fog lifts off my shoulders
and I’m back to an easy waltz,
she leans over, whispers:
Here is where you tell him enough.
Here is where you say apology not accepted.
Here is where you say mine,
When the music stops, she is gone,
taking the terrible with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from Union City. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and has competed in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She now performs locally, regionally, and nationally and is a regular volunteer at National Poetry Slam events. A member of the Poetry Slam Inc. Advocacy Group, SaraEve has facilitated workshops on Performance Poetry and Invisible Illness on both a local and national level. Her work can be found in Ghost House Review, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, Free Verse, Words Dance, Transcendence, and Swimming with Elephants’ Light as a Feather anthology. A Stephen King nerd, she is currently involved in a 100 submissions challenge. To learn more, visit her website.
Natalie Chyi is an 18-year-old from Hong Kong who has recently moved to London, where she will be studying law for the next three years. She started photography to capture moments and pretty things/people/light/scenes as she sees them, and that idea is what continues to fuel all of her work. Find more of her work on nataliechyi.com, Facebook, or Tumblr.