portion of the artwork for Lauren Yates' poetry

Introspection
Lauren Yates

Just because I’m reclusive doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Above you stand only second-hand crossword puzzles chucked by gods, their errors in ink. The newsprint covers your head and you fill in some blank squares to make words shorter, how you want them to be. If you had your way, you’d be a philosophy major. You’d submerge yourself in knowledge like a child who spiraled from heaven via twirly slide in a pit of plastic balls. Your way would lead to fortune cookies filled with morbid maxims and hand-picked lucky numbers because computers are so impersonal. You’d call the absence of ignorance death; but until then, bathroom wall banter must do. Damn what goes on in bathroom stalls. I touch myself in a public restroom thinking of you, my eagerness a shaken bottle of ginger ale. Two hours later, they start peering in the stall, asking if I’m all right in there. I feel the way I did when Jessica Serber ripped out my braid in second grade when we were playing Marco Polo. I told Coach Fish and she asked, “What am I supposed to do? Glue it back on?” I hated her ever since. And yet it’s not just hatred, but also fear, like the fear of killing spiders in case their family chooses to avenge them. I can never get over it; I can never live it down. So forgive me for never telling you this. Forgive me for never telling you much of anything. Just because I’m reclusive doesn’t mean I don’t love you. But if one day you decide to leave me, I’ll hire a hustler who looks just like you.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013