A Parting Gift Before Moving On
The second pill should be taken twelve
hours after the first, the packaging says,
so I go for a swim in the pool instead,
burning off nervous energy after a long
day of bus rides and arguments and walks
along county roads. Here in this space
between the old life and the new, I turn—
lap after lap, bright blue from the skylight
lazy over my head as I cross from one side
to the next. Slice through the water and again,
and again, again with the recriminations,
You should have kept your eyes on him.
You should have put the condom on yourself.
You shouldn’t have been so stupid.
Stupid I was to walk the last half-mile
to the clinic. Someone could have driven
me but I rode an hour, from the heart
of the heart of the city to the county’s edge,
where construction ate farm fields whole.
That strip mall didn’t exist two years ago.
Whole subdivisions appeared overnight, pretty
families populated them, spilled loudly
from catalogs and magazines and home
improvement networks unchecked. I walked
that last half mile because their path
and mine will never intersect. They chose roots
and I chose boxes. This box in my hand,
after handing two twenties to the nurse.
The first pill in my palm, water at the ready.
Josette Torres holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her poems have been published in Star 82 Review, The New Verse News, Artemis, and elsewhere. She is a doctoral student in cultural thought in Virginia Tech’s ASPECT Program.