Molly Rooney

Needing him still

I come when I can,
this time to the tracks,
where we share a drink: mine to pay tribute,
his to forget. Who would know a train came
through here until we gather to mourn
in a feral wood. I leave
indentations on the hot hood
while mosquitoes hover
in the headlights’ glow. His face inherited
his father’s pride, a temper brewing
a taste for disdain. I gulp down
bitter faces to be closer to a lifetime
of tenderness. We are here
for different reasons. I honor the immediacy
of desperation by plucking at a tin tab.
A deer enters from the brush, nosing the ground
piously, her eyes wide wheels
of an impact. I suspend my hands
to remain in her gaze – this animal needs to know
I was the good one. Above our bodies
city lights outshine the stars, a blank sky
heaving in remembrance. Last night
I thought it would be hard to come here, I stayed
awake counting every time I had gotten into
this car and every drink I’ve swallowed
that rattled, barreled through me,
the heavy freight of our lives.

small elegy  

this is for the days we drank
cough syrup as communion
and the nights we walked miles in midwinter
in search of a $10 atm
just to fetch a pack of camel
crush from the trunk of Calleja’s car,
then pile in bed
to sleep and sleep and sleep.

this is for singing through the empty concourse
at night standing guard by the black plaza water
beneath an illuminated egg,
less grand than a moon,
but ours.

this is for the Mayor of Lark Street
for Ricky Styxx
for the now vacant hotel that was home
for the knock spot,
hidden stairways, Irish Jimmy, and Moses.

like the initials of your dead boyfriend,
I’d tattoo their trace behind my ear
if I thought you might forget
that while this city spat
us from our throne,
we were its best keeper.

every day was an advent,
a tab of acid and a used book
flying high from Dove and Hudson
and stabbing open
a bottle at the Knickerbocker
apartments, crying as it poured
bits of cork in your drink in a room
heated by an open oven,
heating up the greatest war
of our lives which was just
growing older and not
knowing how
to stop.

Molly Rooney is a poet originally from Albany, NY and currently living in Seattle, WA. She studied Literature at University of Washington, where she was an editor for Clamor. She now works in the nonprofit sector.

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