If you told me, aged sixteen,
I’d be alone on a hilltop, sipping vodka
from a water pistol borrowed off my brother,
I’d have said, wow, cool.
If you told me then, that in a bedsit
I’d be gold-toned, honing sapphic desire in my underwear,
poking slugs around a fish tank
and naming them in lieu of past lovers,
I’d have said, lovely.
If you told me he’d write me a letter
with real imprints of tears in the ink,
I’d have opened my glossy lips
and laughed with careless teeth.
If you told me I’d end up
gazing down at the boats on the Brooklyn Bridge,
I’d have wondered how I ever felt
at all before this.
In the hospital garden once I sat
in my straw hat, with pin-curls and a mugful of gin
and he would come to kiss me
in his mismatched pyjamas, but I
was half-dreaming – I said I would love him forever
and for a while I meant it. I thought
the pink mist would surround me again;
I thought he would eat my chips
and in the darkness we would twist
as clumsy as those slugs,
like the day in the ambulance
when everything was bright and plastic and blue;
almost forgotten, the world not turning,
yet everything lovely,
lovely as you.
In the mirror I splash my face with glitter and lightning.
Maybe he has that hand-knitted hat
still full of my stardust, the nicotine traces;
I miss him, totally, but you know
it’s only the boats that go places.
Maria Sledmere is currently studying for an MLitt in Modernities at the University of Glasgow, and is otherwise an assistant editor for SPAMzine and part-time restaurant supervisor, a job which provides her with many ideas for strange stories. She regularly writes music reviews for RaveChild Glasgow and has had work recently accepted by publications including From Glasgow to Saturn, DataBleed, Robida and Germ Magazine. When not obsessing over the literature of Tom McCarthy she may be found painting, making mixtapes or writing about everything from Dark Ecology, Derrida to Lana Del Rey at http://musingsbymaria.wordpress.com.