Laryssa Wirstiuk

Do You Prefer the Calm Before or After the Storm?

The tub’s textured bottom is coated
with biodegradable gold, and I’ll forever
be angry at the snow. Meanwhile a blizzard
is arriving sideways in Philly and across
the Eastern coast. My last time in this city
with a rectilinear grid shouldn’t have been
such a challenge to navigate. “Shut the
fuck up,” was something that had been said.
I had given my heart to the backwash
in a bottle of Victory while resting my forehead
on a bodega’s laminated table. Mayonnaise
is always accidental, and every day
is Independence Day in a rented railroad-
style apartment: Mid-Century and Postmodern
for the time being. Enjoy this imposition
that requires neither shovels nor travels
because too soon we’ll be boarding a plane
with a safety video performed by gentlemen’s
club dancers. Will you miss this? Not the weather
but the heightened sense of smell
and the wisdom to wear sunglasses
for the walk of shame, the morning after.
Until we arrive I’ll wear a flannel and a jacket
over black-lace lingerie and glitter.
No matter where we land, I’ll want you
always naked in the light with a spoon
of yogurt in your mouth and Sunday morning
in your eyes. Outside lower your gaze
and let the white detonate your irises.
The ground’s no longer fertile. Anyone can see
we’ve lived here our whole lives – not here –
but with the weight of branches stooping beneath
ice. I thought I’d be used to this by now,
but when you move to kiss my forehead
in the morning and tell me not to inspect
the accumulation without you, I can’t believe
it’s you waiting for me in the lukewarm water:
the man who was sure he couldn’t fit in a tub
that looked, to me, built exactly for two.
Leaving the city the wrong way on a one-way
street is all I can do without turning around.