Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

Done For

A problem: to wake up feeling like you and this stranger

Dated for a year, fell in love and out again, met each others siblings, traded

Scars under the bathtub faucet,

Ate hot cheetos in a canyon,

Sat naked and found glory,

Sat naked and found empty space.

A stranger who, if night eyes are true, has the works.

Life, career, a girlfriend, and everything.

Like a prayer, complete from Dear God to Amen.

 

A rocky journey through the desert, 

40 days and 40 nights of faithfulness.

You can’t tell if you’re sad or bored or hungry

So eat to see if that’s the ache.

(it’s not)

But food helps

And this small universal thing

Sends you down back to the moment when he said

I love to eat

And kissed your cheekbone sloppily

The puppydog eyes of a drunk following your form

With an affection you were both sure would never wane

 

Pan to the side. It’s nothing.

A sidewalk, moths laying siege to a streetlight bulb

That many years from now will finally collapse

Sending shards into the street

Encased in wings and flattened thoraxes that once spread themselves onto its light

And leaving three poor survivors, mad with joy, to cross the barrier

That defeated every father

And burn themselves to nothing on the filament.

Ellen Ellis’ work has been a finalist on Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Top 25, and received the Margaret C. Annan Memorial Prize and SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship. Her stories have been published or are pending publication in Wigleaf, Lost Balloon, and The Bookends Review. Ellen is based in Chicago.