Author: Manaal Mirza

swipe, swipe, swipe

a ball of yarn in my anxious paws;

i play all evening. i

don’t even see the faces, anymore. your dead fish doesn’t make me want to

bone. left

you look like your

mother asks too many

questions. left

how much

are you sucking your stomach in

for that picture? left

(is that even your dog?)

everything i see

i don’t remember. i don’t remember the

pretty eyes, dimpled cheeks, or the one-sentence

representation of a single, wonderful, complex, beautiful,

living, conscience:

(only here for a good time, not

a long time).

every katherine, katheryn, and kathy blend into something abstract and im gulping through this suffocating lack of distinction;

there is an imprint of a screen on the wall at which i stare and

it is brighter than the hungry-wolf teeth of

18 year old boys.

the girl in front of me at the checkout line wants

tangerines, baby carrots, gouda,

(would she want me?)

she throws a pack of m&ms onto the belt and

shoots me a sheepish


there was a strand of hair in

her mouth that fell when she smiled. peanut-butter m&ms (i like those, too)

maybe she is in this tangle of yarn, waiting for me to

swipe. my feline fingers itch but only graze the back pocket of my jeans, where an empty treasure chest sits and forces words back

down my throat.

was her name katherine? (she had the prettiest eyes).

“how did you two meet?”

the tight-lipped, sweaty palmed, i-really-don’t-want-to-

i-really-don’t-think- leave it a  l o n e


“oh. cool!”

“we were just on there for the laugh, you know”

(i was lonely)

“it was meant to be a joke; we were bored”

(i was lonely)

“it was a crazy coincidence that we actually clicked”

(i was lonely)

im kind of ashamed that we met online

sip back the shame with your glass of pinot noir (it looks good in your hand)

are we ashamed of wanting what makes us the most

human? sitting in the chair with the little hole

in the arm-rest, fiddling, trying to fill

all our own little holes. panic sets in. too many holes to fill but never the

right one [?]

what do they ask about me? do they know that i am

the fish in my own image? that my mom doesn’t ask

questions because she is fucking my father’s best friend and

i haven’t eaten a meal in

three months so i don’t have to suck

in my stomach for photos? (did you ask like i did?) (but i never really asked, did i?)

i am barely a face; i blend into something abstract and i am every katherine, kathryn, and kathy.  love will be a better art to paint alone.

swipe swipe swipe

if i was in front of you at the checkout line


or would you just whisper in your mind





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