by Aislyn Gilbert

I still have your GameBoy,
Sitting on my shelf with the rest of the things you let me "borrow."

The video games, the bracelets with block-bead titles like
"Certified Idiot" and "Hive cream,"
The ugly glass sculptures of candy canes with twisted, glitter glue grins.
The birthday cards written on post-it notes affectionately addressed
"To my unfortunately uncomely mistress."

I pick up these things with both hands, one by one, examining each
like a museum curator,
Fascinated by each groove and edge every time I pretend to straighten my room.

The earrings you stole and sneaked into my coat pocket.
Your doodles on unfinished Botany homework.
A ninety-nine cent plastic tube of black lipstick.

And for the moment it takes to touch with fingertips the same places your
hands held, I wonder if you miss these things I've "borrowed."
If you look for your faded green sweatshirt in the chill of January
and relive the dripping dusk spent playing in the knee-high
weeds beside the lake,
holding your hands, stumbling over your feet,
And if you know I wore that sweater all the way home before
I realized it wasn't always mine.

A red wine cork with glued-on googly eyes.
Blue nail polish--three bottles, half-empty.

I consider, in that moment my palms wrap around the curve of glass,
finally calling you again.
But a glance says it's two a.m. where you live, and I remember
the last time I tried to wake you up early.

"You better either be dying or proposing."

A pink lip gloss-stained love letter.
Two concert ticket stubs for your favorite band I can never
pronounce the name of.
The key to your old apartment.

The carbon dating of these relics I've amassed say they're only a few months old,
But the dust sloughs off these artifacts like your sweater from aching shoulders,
Like my hands from your waist when your stepfather calls,
Like the words we spat at one another after midnight.

A silver toe ring.
A glittering, twisted chunk of metal you found on the railroad tracks.

I don't wander onto your gravel road during walks anymore.
I choke around your name aloud,
I pretend you never happened

A small, round pebble carved with our initials.
A portrait of me you scribbled with your eyes closed.

I wonder if you wrap your arms around cold air and miss
my shape beside you
I fly over our year together like you're a fire swallowing up my bedroom

Twelve ink-less pens

I see every teal-haired girl with your face

Candy necklaces

I wake up gasping from the nightmare that you left me

Bottle caps

I'm the only returning visitor in this museum of your garbage

Crumpled cans

I pine and ache in a way you'd dub "disgustingly Victorian"

Hair gel

And I hate myself for still falling asleep curled up like the little spoon.

Sometimes, when I wake up lonely,
I wear your silver necklace that always seemed to catch the
hairs on the back of my neck, no matter how carefully you
clipped the clasp.

I kept your bad puns on gas station receipts "Just in case."

I kept our cipher for quick-reference Biology cheats.

Sheets of our names surrounded by stick-on hearts.

The snorts of laughter.

The truth or dares.

The cold nights.

The ugly.