HOW TO STOP WORRYING SOMEONE WILL LEAVE YOU; VIRGINIA, SINISTER
By: Danielle Unger
HOW TO STOP WORRYING SOMEONE WILL LEAVE YOU
The satisfaction of a search result autocompleting after four words. Perhaps more than paranoia, this is the human condition. Perhaps more than pathetic, you are human. The night before you fought, you knit him a scarf out of thick iridescent green wool. The stitching creating a coma of intention, a broken record of devotion. Putting fingers to work while the brain sorts it out, in infinitum. Creating a comfortable purgatory of industriousness. This color to match his eyes. The heft of the wool, potentially suffocating. The afternoon before you fought, you drove alone to an unfamiliar neighborhood, a quainter carbon-copy of a suburb. Ensconced in a faintly feline smelling couch, you expelled your nascent fears to a stranger. As prayer is a portal to dispose of transgression, may this therapeutic confession ward off jealous thoughts. The hypervigilance of a glance following a glance, the invisible yardstick you use to survey your love and other parties. The juxtaposition of your talents against his and those of all of your rivals forms a bloated venn diagram over your mind’s eye’s third eye. Now recollect how fear is a powerful compressor, that your shame is as unoriginal as salt. Remember that people are all just breathing in microbes, trying to make sense of one and other, mouths gaping in awe.
She rides into the pitch black forest
in the backseat of a taxi cab,
a holiday tradition of lone nostalgia.
Awakening new fears
of witching hour drunk drivers,
as eyes scan the road’s
dizzying curves that took youth
in stride. Each year of high school,
there was another funeral
for a rural classmate who died this way.
When she enters the airport
she notes the gate agent’s ego
is out of tune with this setting:
Christmas Day in a barely southern town.
Single file lines at a pristine regional airport
and he’s double-taking everyone’s IDs
like an overzealous bouncer.
The security checkpoint is a simulation,
subliminal messaging to the reactionaries
that swoon over blue mountains
and dead slave-owning presidents.
Earlier in her trip home, during a bar stool reunion,
an old friend remarked that there is something eerie
in such a serene city center, a smug absence of malice
that shrouds alleyways in menace, the assumption
that silence and peace are synonymous. They ticked off names
of recently murdered local women by memory together
as they walked through an empty parking lot toward their cars.
Danielle is a poet, social worker and Daschund fan living in New Orleans Louisiana. Her work has appeared previously in Susie Magazine and Antigravity.
"In Virginia, Sinister I reflected on some of the dark undertones in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia after the alt-right rally of 2017 that made it infamous.
In How to Stop Worrying Someone Will Leave You, I tried to explore the interior experience of jealousy in a humanizing way."