I Hardly Said Anything Because
Brooke Harries

I realized after all this time,
the things I wish I could say
were all about celebrities anyway.
He was set on the past, remembering and repainting it.
I was forgetting and he sent a message.
My thoughts overlapped
and my thoughts overlapped
making my would-be words reckless and untrue.
I replied something about crying and let him go on
to misquote David Berman and I ignored it.
I got a call from the Bureau of Things You Realize Years Later.
They patched me through to a dream I had
about a girl who used to date him.
I asked her if she’d heard of me. She hadn’t.
And she talks to him all the time.
I’ve already moved down the coast.
400 miles and still the same cross street. California.
Here I can forget a sweater.
It’s a different freedom, like suddenly not owning a dog.
This year I’m giving my accountant
a list of people who can’t help but get drunk
and call themselves losers
and useless memories:
like this summer
I wanted to tell the beach lifeguard rescue him
when I saw an angry man holding his son by the shoulders.
Like at the monarch butterfly preserve
with my mom when I was little
I was jealous they had a life plan.
And years later in a honkytonk
when the band played “Crying”
I was happy as a ghost floating over my funeral
and my dress was National Geographic yellow.
Things I meant to keep are gone
while I have no idea why some somewhat practical things stick,
like alphabet magnets on a refrigerator.
I’m trying to write a poem that takes and takes,
uncompromising as a cast iron pan that I know not to wash.
Sure as there are quilts resting on couches
in houses in the woods, while I choose between
besides or aside from, the rest of the words
push up their breasts and smirk.
The world stays on, teaching.
Brooke Harries’s work has appeared in Salamander, Sixth Finch, Laurel Review, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the University of California Irvine and is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she serves as Associate Editor for Mississippi Review.

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