Loss and Its Antonym

By: ALISON PRINE

The opposite of losing you
was watching you across the purple light
of the dance floor in the local gay bar
while the salt trucks dragged through the streets.

We had our people back then—
Janet all night at the pool table
and Kevin by the men’s room a little drunk
and smearing his mascara—
and our song, an anthem
for falling hard into each other’s lives.

That winter we proved that being terrified
doesn’t prevent you from being happy—
even when the guy on Church Street
threw a bottle at us and called us dykes
on our way back to my place where
we ate ice cream out of the carton
at 2am drunk on our bodies
and the snow storm and a conversation
I can’t remember but we are still having it.

I want to learn to write about the loves
that haven’t died—yellowed paperbacks
with broken spines, the stillness of the lake
from the fishing pier on winter mornings,
the people in this small city
I sometimes recognize on the sidewalk
a decade after our bar shut down.

 

ALISON PRINE’s collection of poems, Steel, won the Cider Press Review Book Award and was released in 2016. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, FIELD, Hunger Mountain, and Prairie Schooner, among other publications. She lives in Burlington, Vermont, where she works as a psychotherapist.

 

[Purchase Issue 14 here.]

Loss and Its Antonym

Related Posts

blackbird upon a puddle

Translation: Poetry by Esther Ramón

ESTHER RAMÓN
Two of those brief animals / that populated the branches / and the furniture made useless / by humidity and neglect. / They were separated / From time that burns as it passes, / from this insignificance, / from the feeding cycle, / my desires in the shredded remains

Mogadishu: a man holds an assault rifle while people walk by, with a crumbling building in the background

November 2021 Poetry Feature

ALDO AMPARÁN
Nights alone I tread / I drag the cloak // through the mud of the old  / municipal gardens / ancient heirloom my family’s ghosts // exhale / between its woven thread / of silk & cotton / some old // cousin too distant / to have known me // in his life speaks / broken Spanish...

hashem beck

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Wait

ZEINA HASHEM BECK
I take photos of the skin on my thigh, the side of my breast, / my arm, my calf, my belly, & send them to friends. See? / They reassure & recommend doctors. My mother suggests / baking soda mixed with oil or water, rosewater perhaps, perhaps / taking a cool bath.