Middle Name Mag - Monday, March 28, 2016 

I like to linger in the space between one day and the next –

the entire world fades away as eleven turns to twelve,

and I somehow remain,

left to gather up the fragments of a shattered heart I cannot remember how to repair.


I take a drag of my future and hold it,

heavy and glowing inside my lungs for

one, two, three.

I exhale, watching the tendrils of smoke wind their way

around AP Calculus, around Raleigh, around college essays,

in the door of a 200 square foot musty apartment and out into a green backyard

with a picket fence and a border collie named Inevitability.


I find a certain pleasure in tearing pages from my notebook –

as if by laying fragments of my existence face-up on the hardwood floor

I can will them to rearrange themselves into something better;

as if by flicking ash onto black ink

I can become the paper, become the fire, become the smoke that will carry me

far, far away from here.


There’s a building pressure inside my chest

and I’m not sure how many more pages I can burn before heat consumes me entirely.

Perhaps I am not words, but light and ember –

perhaps I do not want to reorder myself

as much as I want to watch blisters simmer across my fingertips.


This should be simple:

smoking ashes in a firepit sixty-five miles west of Abilene,

rain that lingers on my lips long after I have ducked inside.


This should be simple,

yet I linger to light up again.


- maye hadley


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