after Lisel Mueller
on her profile i see she has two kids,
now one she had in high school, now none
at all. she is unaborting the one
she didn't not have. she is unpregnant
in eighth grade. she unresembles
her favorite pop singer pink. she uncuts
her hair, unchops it long and feminine.
her new boyfriend is forgetting the weight of her.
she is leaving her new boyfriend. he is forgetting
her phone number. she is becoming my girlfriend
she is picking up the phone and i am on the line
ungiving a goodbye. her best friend is trading letters
between us. we each open letters
from ourselves with hearts on the outside.
she is transferring to our magnet school. she is moving
to a neighborhood close by. we are separating
at the lips. we have never kissed behind the school.
she is unchecking the yes box on the note and i am taking away
my middle school love letter. i am unmeeting her cop father
and her chicano moms. we are walking into baskin robbins
throwing up gold medal ribbon ice cream into cups.
it is rounding into scoops and flattening into gallon drums
of sugar and cream and coldness. we are six years old.
maybe we can go back to then. i am unlearning
her name, the way it is spelled the same
backwards. how it flips on a page, or in my mouth.
i have never known words could do that
until 5 minutes from now.
- Nate Marshall (from Nashville Review)