“Self Portrait with Early December” by Paige Leland

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Houston is raining, has been since August, and my father calls to tell me it’s snowing up north, but, I say, at least snow doesn’t flood, at least there’s a soft place to fall. My room is somehow smaller now and there is nobody here to hold me. But what is holding but twisted limbs that stretch until they break? Everyone that has ever claimed to love me has left. The last few nights I have been waking up at 3 am to shadows of bodies that no longer exist, handprints half embossed in the sheets. When I let myself dream, you are a cartoon—a blonde boy driving that CRV with his knee propping up the wheel and when I wake up I’m smiling but not because I miss your arms, or because I wish you were cradling me, but because nothing was ever easier than those nights, that shaking transmission, the air that clung to the backs of our necks. I have left myself a thousand miles away in the last place you kissed me, hands twisted but still reaching.

 

 

Paige Leland is a serial Cinnamon Life eater, elephant collector and native of Mid-Michigan currently trying to find her way in Houston, Texas. A 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Glass Mountain, The Tahoma Literary Review, The 3288 Review and elsewhere. She is also the managing editor of the new literary magazine, Goat’s Milk. More of her work can be found at paigeleland.wordpress.com or on Twitter.

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