Hide on you

Poetry / Sarah Jean Alexander

The only fetish I have now involves running away and dying. We can dry hump on the freeway going 85 mph and crash into the median for one or two minutes. You’ll never think of a face without picturing mine first. I am the new standard for all faces to come. I am not surprised by it. You’ll never hear the word “penguin” and not think about me. I’m a little more thrown off by this one, but of course it is true.

It is normal to feel suspicious of a young person who is hopeful and okay with it. It would be easier to be alone if there was anything else I’d rather be doing than sitting across from you. I plan to spend the next year of my life tattooing strings of letters and numbers on each of your limbs, slowly working my way to your center where it will be easier for me to hide on you and easier for you to keep me hidden.

The last sip of my coffee tastes like the oil on yesterday’s pizza. You know what, there are some things that just end up working out for the best, even when you aren’t trying. The bells ring from the church next door and I am reminded that I am in bed with you. You decided to give yourself a break and cut yourself a little slack, but then you remember your hangover and how you deserve to feel every second of today and nothing else. Tomorrow you can try again. Tomorrow you will be in the clear. You consider moving to a better spot to see a sunset that you just have a feeling about. This might be the one. The buildings turn from red to orange to purple. You didn’t move, but you felt the colors surround you. The ethereality of your privilege.

I have been trying to meet you for a long time, and then I finally did. You ask me if I want to go out and get moderately drunk, and I say, yes, of course. All you had to do was ask. Sometimes I become anxious by how much the expressions on your face affect mine that I am tempted to shut my eyes for an entire day in an effort to just fucking relax. The uber driver asks if I like trap music as the automatic locks click down, and I feel scared. At the top of your to ­do list it just says STOP BEING SO AFRAID OF EVERYTHING.

If a feeling leaves, don’t worry, it can come back. If you leave, you don’t have to. I’ve developed a second fetish called “always maybe being a little bit pregnant.” It keeps me on my toes.

Sarah Jean Alexander is an American writer from Baltimore. She is the author of Wildlives (Big Lucks Books, 2015) and LOUD IDIOTS (Second Books, 2016) and has been featured in the Quietus, the Fader, Noisey, Dazed Digital, Lenny Letter and other places online and in print. She is also the poetry editor of Shabby Doll House.