• i’m from missouri, but haven’t lived in missouri since i left home at nineteen. • and that’s because i joined the active army on a whim after a month of keeping continuous contact with a recruiter. army because the airforce recruiter wasn’t there and the marines wasn’t something that piqued my interest. • i was only 115lbs and stood at 5′6″ when i joined. couldn’t do a single pushup, smoked, did the occasional hard drug, and drank heavily on the weekends with my friends in kansas city before i left. • i’ve lived in 5 different states, including a year in germany and a 14 month long deployment in kirkuk, iraq. ( it snows there ) • i met my future husband in iraq on the small infantry base where i was rotated on, sometimes being the only female there. i told him he had a nice sleeve and it went from there. i snuck him mountain dew and honey buns and he snuck me a few shots of liquor from their interpreters. • i was forced to learn stick shift in germany and before then my husband and i bought bikes and biked to post when we had work. • i quit smoking cigarettes in 2010 and quit drinking altogether in 2015. it was mostly wine, but the headache / occasional hangover & time spent recovering just isn’t worth it. • i’m actually back on the same anxiety meds i’d taken while deployed - celexa - and i feel tons better now, minus the waking up four times throughout the night. • i have four tattoos, with the biggest on my back. as well as my ears pierced and a septum piercing. • i’m now a homemaker with a beautiful ( insane ) 5 year old, and my husband has accomplished his dream job of getting on a police force, as well as a specialized unit ( swat ). & i couldn’t be more proud of where i am today.
i. bustling city streets, people coming and going, living out their lives. shades of dark blue with faint hints of pastel orange and pink spreading across the sky at dawn. choosing to look back while i looked forward. colliding in a blur of black and white and suddenly seeing a world full of color. meeting your eyes, but peering into your soul instead. faded photographs of memories only you can remember.
ii. the light of the sun falling upon your smile even when you tried to hide. joyous laughter every time we went back and i tripped over the same rock in the stream. whispered promises over a burning fire. interlocked hands as we walked together in the moonlight.
iii. heated arguments, screams and bitter words that dripped crimson. disappointed gazes, downcast head. dried tears and unspoken apologies. stargazing, finding yourself in the constellations, and realizing that an infinite amount of possibilities await. eventual forgiveness, the warmth of your embrace. your clothes smelling of the future, of hope, mingling with the scent of my own cardigan, smelling of a new beginning. choosing to never look back.
iv. you and i.
in which we wrote our own story, and there were plot twists neither of us saw coming. | s.y
There is a storage area in the back of my closet I haven’t ventured back there in ever so long Might there be hidden treasure? Perhaps books from long ago Or a forgotten diary locked with a key or Even a magic portal to lands unknown I’ve read of such things I’m going in
I’m hoping for a packet of forgotten love letters A box of faded photographs Or at very least my long lost hoodie The soft one that felt like a hug Pushing pass my paint splattered jeans Ribbons bows and wrapping paper Beyond the dust bunnies and unmatched socks I find a memory
Of rainy day hide and seek Of hidden tears and a self-righteous pout Of day dreams and fantasies Plans of adventure and dreams of tomorrow I remember too an unplanned nap Head cushioned by a rag doll Now faded and forlorn
Treasure sought, treasure found No sweeter gift than this An afternoon’s foray Into the riches of all my yesterdays
The whispers had him clutched in their grips. He rose from his bed and dressed, already feeling the presence of someone new to a realm they were unfamiliar with. Kieran was missing, likely in the Fold. It was a time that convenient for the Irishman to be around, therefore he was missing. Rob moved from his house and into the woods, the starlight lighting the way. He was listening to the whispers, hearing their agony when he heard something else. His feet still, attempting to beckon the ghost toward him before the living visitor arrived. “You must go on,” Rob whispered to the man who appeared, his edges were blurry, faded, like an old photograph. It was how Rob knew he was dead. This one was accepting of what he had become. He passed through the Fold, disappearing from Rob’s senses before he turned, to look at the visitor. “I am terribly sorry if this your property. I will leave shortly.”
“it’s not enough to know what you want,” she remarked, her hands musked in coriander.
to know it is not to have it, to own it; to have it, to own it is not to love. sunspotted hands throat cheekbones glowed orange in summer light; she glimmered somehow sadly like a faded photograph of smiling faces through a car window, of memory gone bone-dry.
i wanted to wring it all out; wring it through and through, shuck the linoleum grit between my toes and rub raw. it was not enough to want.
instead all i could do was smile and drink and wander outside alone and listen to the tremulous silence marked by cicadas and bees making their final rounds, all brimming with purpose