portion of the artwork for Michael Meyerhofer's poetry

Coping Mechanism
Michael Meyerhofer

For a while with Alysha,
late nights pushing a tin cart
through a maze of canned goods,
I’d pretend to stumble, collapse,
like my ankles had finally
given out for good. For weeks,
they’d been hurting, which she knew
must be serious because I’d wince,
even clutch her sometimes
like all that’s cracked inside me
had suddenly turned to water
and she was the raft.
Anyway, in the grocery store,
where we’d just come to separate
one moment from the next,
I’d make sure no one else
was watching then let my legs
kind of fold like a lousy poker hand,
holding the cart with one fist.
That’s not funny, she said.
I probably did it a dozen times.
She never laughed, not once.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 56 | Fall/Winter 2020