Image © Ambika Thompson 2019
|by Marianna White||December 17, 2019|
It doesn’t matter where I am, the line at the grocery store, brunch, a funeral.
Some part of me is always angry
ready to pull the hair out of the shower drain,
but it is easily led away.
I am attracted to women that are so full
of themselves, they leak.
A greedy infant dropped in an already full tub.
I was a child once,
it wasn’t enough.
I took a captive bolt pistol
to all the horses inside of me,
now a bright blue sprint of sky.
I keep expecting my adult life to begin with a car crash
or an abduction, but instead folded linens, soft hands, an early summer .
I am not reliable,
more xanax than diamonds,
But I have always wanted to be a mother,
even when gun shopping.
I want to be brave.
Some part of me is always away,
another part of me is always too close,
and swollen, full to leaking.
Once I went to Harbor View to visit my friend
after she swallowed a fifth, 3 bottles of Ibuprofin.
Her father was there with a small and worn rabbit.
I didn’t cry then,
instead something black and brackish rose up in my throat,
her sickness not mine.
As a girl I would lay out, the sunlight streaming down from the large windows
with a flat of strawberries. Devour them all as I read
I am not poor, I still steal
in my imagination, bandages, lotions,
loaves of bread,
but in reality trinkets,
like a magpie. When I am scared
I leave and when I come back I clean the house I bake
I imagine a large dog following me everywhere,
to the bus stop, the bar, the shower.
We wash with the same bone white bar of soap
and sleep in the same unmade bed.
I call my brother, I tell him
I used to think my life was a movie headed backwards,
that there must have been something dramatic and ugly
fanged at the start. How as an infant I could sit in a bright yellow
room full of toys and faces and still cry.
I needed a reason, some dark event that could only be overcome by saving a life
or standing on a mountain top.
I won a playwriting contest,
my father had a heart attack,
someone poisoned my family’s little white dog through the slats in our backyard fence.
I graduated high school and went skiing in Aspen.
When I was 19 I followed the sous chef from work dutily into a cab
afterwards I called my mom from the toilet in his bathroom to ask about the cut in my vagina that his long and dirty nails made.
I was loved. It wasn’t enough.
I almost died. I did die.
19, 20 a hundred times
just to burst like a peony through a weak
and dirty window.
If I could go back I would.
Not for the old house,
the backyard with the slabs of stone and cattails,
my little sister when she still wore pink glasses and had seizures,
or the public market with the grease soaked sesame balls and whole halibut spread out over ice,
the triumphant photo in the gold frame
of me, small and cherished,
in an orange fleece beaming on my father’s shoulders,
not for any love
but for the girl.
I would take her sweaty face in my hands and say
nothing is coming for you but time.
Originally from Seattle, Marianna White is a creative writing and pre-nursing student at the University of Colorado Denver. Her work has been published in Flock, Petrichor Review, and Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, among others. She lives with her boyfriend and their pit bull boxer mix, Churro.
AMBIKA THOMPSON is a writer, musician, and parent. Her favourite colour is rainbow and she has a black cat that is a witch. She has been published in several international publications including Electric Literature, Riddle Fence, Crab Fat Magazine, Fanzine, and has a piece forthcoming in Joyland. She has been in several amazing bands that nobody’s heard of such as The Anna Thompsons, Tschikabumm, The Honky Twats, and Razor Cunts. She is the founder & managing editor of the literary journal Leopardskin & Limes, and has an MFA in creative writing from Guelph University. ambikathompson.com