In the world that still holds you living
I’ve shown you the Tropical Sno
on 56th and Old Cheney.
We go almost every night after dinner.
We get the YOLO every time;
they pick the flavors,
we get the next one free.
Our version of shopping is wandering
between hundreds of shades of green at the paint store;
and for once we have time
to find just the right one.
When we’re together, time unfolds like a scroll
with no end, and we are calligraphers
intentional; not having to rush.
On Saturday mornings I wash my hair
with your rosemary shampoo,
and I’m not pulling any of it out.
You’re in the kitchen, making us eggs,
making the counter dirtier than it’s ever been.
You tell me there’s nothing to be feared
in grimy things. We leave the dishes
in the sink til’ later, which gives us more
time at our easels. Chips of paint get
caught in my nailbeds, giving me
hands like yours.
In a world that still holds you living
you are beside me in the hospital
the day I almost left this world at my own
hand, the one that you are holding,
telling me you know how it feels to live
with a bee-hive brain and heartache
running thick as honey in our veins.
You tell me we’ll find our way through
together. We’ll find the right meds,
we’ll leave the liquor alone. In this world
that never tires of swallowing our dreams,
we’ll learn how to seize joy like driftwood
We’ll learn how to surf.
Your thumb rubs the vein
where the IV went in
right next to the green paint-stains.
You tell me
One more time, kid.
Let’s just try one more time.
Bio – Syble Heffernan (she/they) is a poet and spoken word artist studying English and International Studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is the founder of, and active participant in, the university Spoken Word Group and works with the Nebraska Writers Collective as a Slam Poetry Teaching Artist. Her written work has appeared in Masque and Spectacle literary magazine, Prometheus Dreaming literary magazine, the Poems from the Lockdown Anthology, and Blanket Sea Press online magazine, among others. She is a lover of mountain meadows, energy work, unscheduled days, ocean swimming, stove-popped popcorn, airport terminals, piano music, and the fleeting nature of lilacs in the spring.