for a lost girlfriend
you once sat waiting for a phone call that never came
from yesterday me who promised you promises mean
everything to me, true as the ground beneath
our wobbling feet. heart lurching in the direction
of tender, exhilarating female connection.
i text and say, "i'm sorry i can't come to the phone
right now; there's water inside its plastic-glass body,
inside my eyes where dolphins are swimming
delightfully away. i'm trying
to convince the dolphins to leave,
but they won't listen. on their end is only static."
i tell you all this & still you wait
but i don't believe i ever told you how i shed
my minute-old selves like old bark. dead skin.
who i was yesterday is not who i am now
because yesterday i loved you & today
i hate the person who once loved you.
the dolphins swam away with my pain yet there is
a dent in my heart the size of their leap through the air
to catch what breath they can because breath runs out
faster when you are trying not to gasp. to never sink
or see where sea anemones or stingrays don't stray.
i went snorkeling once to try & befriend them.
i thought the water was in my eyes again & i
didn't know the objects in my blurry goggles
are farther than they appear.
as you sat waiting for my phone call—perhaps
for a reassurance like the 3 cups of sweet
daytime tea my mother insists i must drink--
that i still love you that you can still hope to hear
other girls' secrets through me.
"don't best friends share everything?" you ask,
hurt & mistaking blossoming young girl
political hot-takes for the worst betrayal imaginable.
& you think i don't trust you and you certainly
don't know this
but i outgrow people like i outgrow my body or
my pimples, the scars & stretch marks remain
but yesterday i loved you--
today, i don't know anymore.
as the end of day sunlight slips through leaf-gaps
in the swaying tree crown & my pain is a setting
sun sized absence i hold myself alone
(ruptured phone line in palms empty
dial tone a jarring echo)
beside the phone that no longer can
take calls from your number.
Anukriti (she/her) is a twenty-two year old STEM student from India. She enjoys poetry, Zhiyong Jing's paintings, sad music (a lot of First Aid Kit) and walking. She can be found mistfully admiring Gulmohar tree crowns during the Indian monsoon. Her work has appeared in Ice Lolly Review, Pop The Culture Pill and Goats Milk Magazine. She can be reached on both Instagram and Twitter as @anukrav, indulging in rest and her sporadic attention span.