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Gina Myers

Letter for Gabriella, or How to Leave New York

Nothing has changed or everything has,
but it remains the same in the city.
It could have been a day, a week, or three
years. It could have been something
magical. I know how you feel & I will tell
you everything will be okay, even though
I’m not too sure myself. Up to our elbows
in bleach, scrubbing away a year,
drinking away memories of last night.
I awoke in the cab to find I’d given
the wrong address, looked up at a building
I hadn’t been in in five years.
Sometimes I only remember things
in short bursts. That first night.
Those last six months. Speaking in
our private language, I thought I could
give you a set of instructions on how to leave.
A kitchen table does not make a home.
The birds became sick & the radio
was my best friend. Every night
was a party & slowly dying, I was
feeling the same things you’re feeling
right now. During this drawn out goodbye,
everyone will want to be your friend.
Two weeks later, most will have already forgotten.
But it’s better to be forgotten than to be miserable.
It’s okay to leave, to want to leave.
You don’t have to explain it to anyone.
My life is not glamorous, will never be so,
& I’m okay with that. Let’s stop pretending.
Sometimes we get so caught up with looking back,
we forget to look forward. It’s easy to
obsess over the bad things: feeling used
& discarded. Harder to look forward
to the unknown, the promise of a fresh start.  
A new city awaits & there is no promise
it will be better, only different.  
I continue to make the same mistakes,
but I feel like myself again. Your pain
echoes my pain & I feel like this is happening
all over. The tape stuck on rewind.
My slow fade out matches your slow fade out,
a ghost stitched to a ghost, listening
to Morrissey & waiting for the bars to open,
waiting to forget it all & be everyone’s best friend.

Twenty-Seven: An Inventory

915 gnats build a nest in my ankle.
A single fan. A mattress on the floor.
At least two mice seen. Another key to hang
from my belt. Nineteen keys mean
I can enter 5 mailboxes, 7 apartments,
2 offices & 2 elevators. I keep 3 keys
of unknown origins & currently 9 bruises
of unknown origins: 4 on my right leg,
1 on my right hip bone, 2 on my left arm,
1 on my right elbow & 1 on my left knee.
Three small cuts on my right hand.
I have 5 hours to myself today.
Someone else’s curtains hang in my windows.
The box on the floor is my box.
In my dreams there is always 1 white rat
with red eyes. It’s bitten me 3 nights in a row.
I have 1 mom, 1 dad & 1 brother.
It’s been 373 days since I last saw them,
except my brother: 1,089 days.
Three months of stoicism lost
in a single night’s collapse.
The mistakes more than I can count.
The imagined gunshots out my window
really just the rattling of my box fan.
But the dogs barking & voices yelling are real.

    for J

So much happens in my life
that I would like to write about,
but then something else happens
& things are always happening.
You, my friend, are underground
& will always be there. I did not
help you, but you always helped me.
When I was an atheist, I believed
in people. Now as a nihilist, my grief
has no hope. And I could say
there is no reason to keep going,
but then I think of I think of you.

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