"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.