"Five Month Anniversary" by Jenna Vélez

We argue over who will buy the syrup

Until he yells at me that I’m wasting time

But I don’t have 3 dollars on me

And I hate favors.

I let him buy it in the white heat shame of supermarket fluorescence.


“I should probably change my bank pin.”


Why? I just listen, he’s made me hate my voice by now.


“It’s my ex-girlfriend’s birthday.”


And then I become more puddle. Maple syrup puddle.

Trying to run off in hurt rivers.

He turns and I hope he’ll mercifully clean me off the floor.

Instead he asks when my birthday is.


I can’t look at him when I’m too tall in this store

And I need to drive him home.

I sacrifice a bad memory scapegoat to the supermarket gods.

He doesn’t bite.


“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m bad with dates.”


Except this one. Except me.

He digs a cozier hole for both of us.

Fuck a lifeline, he has a June hunch.

And I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s December.