by Alexis Oldham
Summer of two thousand and something and it was the kind of summer most of Braidwood, Illinois wanted to hang,
above the doorways of their favorite rooms.
Shoes swung from nearly every telephone wire on West Bergera Road and I remember this was the summer I learned it took about thirty times to form a habit- about thirty times until it stopped requiring effort- and this was the fifteenth summer of existing.
This was the summer I figured maybe I didn’t know how to “addict” right.
This was the summer I called myself “bruised” instead of “body”, the summer I must’ve mouthed the words, “I’m fine” a thousand times in hopes of becoming it.
we met in the middle of the calmest flood and I can’t remember sinking. Can’t remember the moment- singular and specific- my body became the sentence and, my mouth; the comma in which mild catastrophes were always pausing to spill out.
this morning was the first morning I didn’t feel like dying.
Last night, I had a dream my father was forgiving me for all the things I could not become because of you and this morning was the first morning my body did not feel like a house on fire, the first morning I did not have to convince myself that water could still taste like lemonade if I drank it fast enough.
This morning was the first morning I did not beg to be emptied, the first morning in the longest time I did not wake up searching for an exit wound,
which is to say,
I think this is healing.