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November 20, 2019 Poetry

Conversation Between the Girl and her Drugs

Aumaine Rose Gruich

Conversation Between the Girl and her Drugs photo

“and where’s the melody
to remedy the melody, the remedy to remedy the remedy” 
      -Diane Seuss 

Last ever moments of falling 
asleep with you, last 
ballooning mood & heartbeat 
so I go back—seventeen, 
that backless dress, Axis nightclub, 
industrial fans air-brushing 
my blood into flutter 
beneath skin. I took you 
in my body, let you make me
love it for some time. Past 
garbage cans’ neon halos
we paraded until I wasn’t sure 
I’d once stepped out before 
you. Now we outlast 
each person allowed to enter 
our years-long waltz, each 
ersatz night some lover’s car 
flew where we directed, 
each extravagance imagined in.
It was my birthday for years, 
it was gold spray-painted mirrors, 
the ritual halving of tea straws, 
& innumerable ways to stop
a lockless door. It was adventure 
forever, it was the long fortune 
of your mythos to morph me
into rag doll, moon bird, 
double babuskha’d dealer, 
it was—weren’t we? —a little bit 
of everything before we began
to differ. You hid in the getaway 
car I had to pack, memorized
my new address, beguiled 
the neighbors, came to 
housewarm emptyhanded, 
smirked that affect itself is a gift.
The crowd laughed, what 
did they know, what was I
to do? Oh you co-opted 
my home, sang bad renditions 
of songs I needed sung, 
learned to idle in the alley 
behind my job, spook my customers,
steal my cash, then flat out 
just not show, ‘til two trains &
a twenty-block walk revealed 
I’d missed you again
by a minute. I saw myself 
finally, across a stranger’s backyard,
memory shot, shocked back
into my senses—Tonight, 
the lockbox scraped & last baggie 
emptied deflate that image 
you littered first into my gaze: 
strobe light, eerily polite,
you held out a pearl-handled pen
knife, offered a place beneath 
your coat. Said come, slit the surface, 
loose some threads, I’ll pull you
through the warp & weft of night. 

image: Aaron Burch