Everything is all so unrequited


I watch TV with the neighbours
through my bedroom window
the back of their heads contorting
when something significant happens in the lambent light
I fantasize about them watching me get undressed in the morning
I’m not sure if it would make me feel seen
or violated.

There was a dog
I looked after
in a stranger’s house in June
who followed me everywhere I did not want it to
the toilet – inside the sheets – licked my toes at 2am
until I cried into a handwritten letter
lurched for its body
for it to claw away.

I have aged so much time
sitting inside looking out the kitchen window at the idle driveway
only going outside as the sky grew mould
so I could lament the temperature.

I have aged so much time
lying in salt-stained sheets
with people who only half-loved me back.

I have aged so much time
sitting in cars
with people I only half-loved back.

Is it a universal rule
that everyone and everything
must long for something they are only allowed one bite of?

My neighbour’s cat
stares at mine through the gaps in the fence
she likes to climb the Puka Puka
cavort from a leaf
to beat him up
maybe they would fall in love
if they weren’t so obsessed with territory.

One time my life was so unrequited
I burnt my wrists with a stranger’s cigarette
when people asked about the scars
I told them they were from the giant mosquitos
who had flown in with the storms in North Carolina
A lie is best told when one-quarter true.

If the mosquitos had heard
they would have been so jealous.


Featured image, Zita’s mother’s painting from art school. Artist: Linda Hubbard, 1983. Courtesy of the author.


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