“learn to fly”

you always wanted to fly to catalina island in a fun-size plane,

but instead i find your underwear crumpled at the bottom of my sheets
when i do laundry a week after you’re gone. like i find his yellow
legal pad bucket list with only half the shit ticked off. broken promises
we only thought we had the power to keep. i’d flush his mason jar ashes
down the sink if i didn’t think he’d end up swimming in baby wipes & tampon
strings at hyperion treatment plant on the edge of dockweiler beach.

my vacuum cleaner is filled with your hair,
so i buy a new vacuum cleaner.

i write you letters, hard, on my typewriter because it feels like punching
the gravestone i never gave him. i try to put all the things that remind me
of you on one shelf, and my other shelves wind up empty. i fill them
with the crumpled up letters that are the opposite of: you, here. i yell at them
that eleven shelves of Minus-You should balance out one shelf Plus.

they don’t say anything. i shred
the papers and vacuum their bits with the new machine.

i empty my vacuum cleaners on the floor side by side and make a nest
from your dark hair on the left. i yell at the right that 515 bits per page
for at least six letters per shelf of Minus-You should balance out one nest
Plus. i ask the internet how many pieces a paper-shredder makes

so i can chew this poem
before i feed it to you, to him.

i tug strings loose from your underwear for insulation. i tear his bucket list
into thick strips with my hands, then papier-mâché this chicken wire body
to egg smooth. i crawl into the nest of these dead pieces of you
and finally sleep. in the morning, i crack open, find a pen, check off
“learn to fly” from the yellow legal pad shell from which i’ve taken wing,

scattering paper shreds behind me.

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