Allowable, Sure, But Potentially Doomed

Janet Frishberg

Posting photos for likes // crying for a minute in the movie theater // sobbing for thirty minutes outside REI // renting a Smart car just to scream in private.

Pooping easy, poops to be proud of // waiting in emergency room // letting pain draw vomit // drinking radioactive isotopes // fucking // making love // dancing in deserts / in forests / in converted ballrooms of gentrifying cities. Sipping sparkling water // fake laughing for the benefit of powerful men // real laughing til you’re unable to breathe, scared you might die, it’s not a bad way to go, you always think.

Drinking not-water // loosening your tight hold on the day // slipping a tiny piece of paper into your mouth so you can see us all connected like strings of Christmas tree lights, + even the doors of porter-potties are beautiful for those blessed few hours.

Fantasizing. Big sky listening, where eyes become binoculars. Lying on a bed in a circular room // letting a woman push a pillow on you // trying to push it off // trying to stand up // run // get out of the room // trying and failing to do everything your inebriated muscles couldn’t or wouldn’t do, six years ago.

Thrift shopping. Eating string cheese. Waiting for answers. Praying. Texting, calling, saying more words. Holding a sleeping baby created inside a body you’ve known for twenty years. Asking emailed questions about dead people // hitting his bony chest with flattened palms // selling three hundred books in one day // peeing on actual earth.

Getting naked in a river // a hot tub // a natural sulfur spring, its scent lingering in hair. Running to bay at dawn // running through woods at dusk, mosquitos wanting to know you, intimately // walking the plank of a chopped down tree, all this casual violence. Replanting cucumbers, collard greens, and sunflowers into baked ground and watering them as though you can, perhaps, rescue their young, unready selves.


Janet Frishberg is currently at work on a memoir about grief, writing, and friendship. Her writing has been published in places including Catapult, [PANK], Electric Literature, The Rumpus, and Joyland Magazine. She tweets occasionally @jfrishberg.

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