the lover

By Libby Walkup


the sun coming in through the windows at the angle of three weeks difference [the longest i've been away from this space; the longest we've spent together], the room’s bright, new, exciting. i'd forgotten things: the mess, the emptiness, things left out, not here [you, i presume]. i take off my pants and use the toilet; i forget the room again. i remember yours, briefly, but set it aside.

i stumble, move forward, just keep moving: i leave my pants in a crumpled mess on the floor. i open the windows, or maybe i did that before, yes before. it's cold, but not that cold, not for january. i pull the sandwich out of the bag. the silence – well, i put on a record. yes. i will eat to a record, florence + the machine. i bite into my sandwich at the counter. i need a plate. no, music won't do. i go back to my sandwich, bite again. the first song finishes and i pull the needle. i bring my sandwich to the bed [i don't know why the bed] and sleep, plate next to my head.

i wake [too soon, but maybe at the perfect time], i think, think the snarkiest things i've thought in months, and remember feeling good in the morning and the afternoon; g o o o o o d, like that. [you didn't call]. for the first time in months i have voice and i worry it's because i've left you; or worse, that you helped find it. i think things with you, but then you disappear. i hate when you disappear.

you ask me what i mean, i tell you i want to talk, you say you want to go to sleep, i feel – soft inside and tell you i miss you and i want to hear your voice but now am feeling rejected and defensive, so good night. you tell me if i had said that, about the missing and the lonely, you would have called, but good night. i cry. i unpack my suitcase. you should have just called. i cry. i unpack the rest. you should just call. you don't call and i feel –

how quickly a voice can wrap around, entangle that of another. how a few days pressed up against [and entwined with] you and your voice can make a separation painful and a 'clean' closet smell like smoke, and i can feel it: the accumulation of things; for every four items i acquire i lose one: a scarf, an old pair of holy underwear, a book, a set of handmade washcloths. do i have to lose my voice? is it such a small thing?

i try to sleep. it's too early after a nap [you didn't call]. so. i consider bringing a cracker/chip party to the bed [i still don't know why the bed] but bring it to the counter, where i've set up this document for typing, where i eat standing, choosing crackers carefully, and when a thought comes to me i come to the bed, still chewing, and type. i've never done this before. [you didn't call.] this is like a new space to me. like i haven't been living here for months. in twelve hours it’s changed, it’s different than before [fresh, but familiar].

a space, a voice i’m shifting into – a home; a lover.


Minnesota based writer and editor, Libby Walkup knows the importance of brevity and an active verb. She holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Red Weather, High Plains Reader, Miracle Monocle, ARTSpulse, and Fractured West have published her creative and nonfiction work. She's an anglophile, takes pictures, crochets and makes books. She is currently at work on a fiction book called Friday Night Fargo.

© 2015