by M.R. Mandell
She sweeps her palm across the settee, daring me to stay. I want to stage-whisper something scathing about today’s New Yorker essay, but words burrow beneath the cushion of my tongue, never sharp enough for her to hear. Suitors stare across the bar, singing sonnets with their eyes, as if praying for one last deadly line. Her pen strides the paper, all flourish and flash, as if she’s writing her own epitaph. As smoke twists through her fingers, a sentence stutters off my lips I thought you were dead. She sips her last drip of rye, and bestows us a gift, Darling, I’m too fucking busy to die, and vise versa.
M.R. Mandell (she/her) is a poet and photographer based in Los Angeles. A transplant from Katy, Texas, she now lives by the beach with her muse, a Golden Retriever named Chester Blue (at her feet), and her longtime partner (by her side). You can find her work in Boats Against the Current, The Final Girl Bulletin Board, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, JAKE, Roi Fainéant, sage cigarettes, Anti-Heroin Chic, Stanchion Zine, Fine Print, unstamatic, Drunk Monkeys, Olney, and others. Forthcoming: Five Minute Lit, Writers Resist, The Cherita and Drunk Monkeys.