JJ Lynne


The night we took Colleen to get her clit pierced
was the last time we got together, seven separate-
blooded sisters who knew the importance
of morale on such occasions. Five waited in the foyer
while Dina accompanied Coll into a room of cold
clamps and charms cast in sterling silver.
As we sat, our tongues slithered like the serpents
wrapped around biceps and ankles on the wall
display of tattoo samples, searching for words to form
into sentences that would say how much we'd changed
without the familiar tether of friendship.

This is what a high school reunion looks like
one year into college: Girls who used to share
sodas and swap boyfriends are suddenly
strangers. A year of separation is the new
long division. I can't believe we're here,
we said, commenting upon the place as much
as upon our presence. Do you think
she'll go through with it?
and in seconds
we had our answer. A cry sharp as an oyster
knife radiated through the wall behind us
and we passed smiles the way we used to
pass notes pressed in textbooks.

Later, we raced our cars through cul-de-sacs
where cops wouldn't bother us and ate our weight
in pizza, writing love notes to one another
on empty, oil-stained boxes. Our promises
to meet again got caught in Charley's smoke rings
and dissipated before we could catch them.
In a year or two we'd think of one another,
how each girl's lips moved when forming a secret,
how our fingers curled around each other's hair,
plaiting it. That will be enough to sustain us-
enough to let the phone ring when a ghost calls,
and fail to answer it.

JJ Lynne is a poet and photographer who makes a living as owner of the popular Etsy shop All You Need is Pug. Her writing and artwork have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, CALYX, Hobart, Mock Orange Magazine, A Narrow Fellow, and Spry. JJ is co-editor of poetry for the literary journal Paper Nautilus.

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