photo of girl mannequin

When You Were Still You, and I Wasn’t Second Guessing by Billi MacTighe

(Please rotate your handheld device to landscape mode to provide maximum width for each line.)

Press the flashing button, unlabeled,
knowing that it must do something –
watch the thread unravel, swirl around
itself like a sewing machine in overdrive,
the gears working to turn one another
to turn the hourglass sands into finer
power; as if leaking through fingers,
time spilling away and pooling
at your ankles. And it’s cotton-candy
pink, like your favorite ice cream
from Country Whip – even if you
are committing sacrilege every time
you deny it’s flavor is nicely rounded-out
by adding marshmallow and hot fudge.
But don’t dwell on the specifics: think
of the gazebo at the park near the beach
near Fort Tabor. Or am I getting lost, again.
Maybe it’s the slope and chiseled frame
of the ruins we climbed, brushing
aside ferns and thicket to catch a glimpse
of the baby blue expanse – sky and ocean
blurring without the crests of waves
to mar the seamless touch. Like your
hands against my elbow, guiding me
down the grassy slope, wet with dew;
and our feet seeking rocks, roots,
to guide us towards the Westfield River.
So warm for April, 1:00 a.m. illuminated
by the streetlights behind Lammers,
a single Adirondack chair looking out
at the disappearing world below, falling
away at an angle like the tree limb
we perched against; the bark scratched
my neck and shoulders as you tangled
yourself in my hair, in my arms,
your lips repeating what the water
sighed and gurgled. It was my favorite
moment. But now I can’t remember,
in my nostalgic state, if I only imagined
the mirrored pinpricks in your eyes –
like lightning bugs against the pitch black.
Or if it was my own reflection – emitting
sparks before the fire in me fizzled
and hissed; the embers dying as I was
deprived of room to breathe.

Billi MacTighe is a poet from Eastern Massachusetts who studied English at Westfield State University. She has had poems published in Prairie Margins, Paper Nautilus, and Rock & Sling. Billi’s work is centered around her personal experiences, interpreting events through her Borderline Personality Disorder: a lens that allows her to see the real and imaginary parts of life simultaneously. She is currently generating work to create a full length poetry manuscript; these works not only delve into her mental disorder, but they also evaluate the experiences of growing up – attempting to reason what it really means to live.

Lead image“through the nothing-glass . . (grothendieckian specular schizozygosity of speculative bubbles)” (via Flickr user jef safi)