by Michelle Foster
Michelle is a novelist, screenwriter and founding editor of Inclement Poetry Magazine (est. 2000). Her work has been published in Neon Highways, Still, Iota, Exile, First Impressions, Poetic Licence, Breathe, Candelabrum and Amber Silhouettes and she has contributed to Female First and Listverse online. A poetry collection, The Night is Behind Me, is available as an e-book from Amazon. Her short story, 'The Willow' was shortlisted for the Myslexia Women's Short Fiction Prize 2012 and was published online with The View From Here. Another short story, ‘Mysterious Hymns’ was published by Female First. She graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in Writing from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She is often mistaken for Beyoncé by absolutely no-one and has a long-running battle with a squirrel with a grudge.
It’s coming. Crawling along the blank grey sidewalks, hiking up the hills of this city. This thing I cannot name, cannot face. It’s in the burst of conversation from the open door of the coffee shop, the spatter of drizzle on the back of my neck. The smell of fried seafood, chowder and fresh pumpernickel. I am here. I am not ready. Our front door, ours. From here, you can see over Seattle, see the streetlights blinking on in the dusk. One, two, three, infinitum.
How do I do this?
How can I do this?
Dark had fallen in all its inevitability and you – you were laughing at some dumb TV show and I knew we had broken. You took me up to the Paramount, Ninth & Pine. Vaudeville and soda pops, a sop, a please-don’t-say-the-words, a please-don’t-leave-me. After, we went down to the waterfront and you kissed me and it was good and we sang and it was good and we laughed and it was good and you got down on your knees. Please. Don’t.
I will break. We are breaking.
We have broken.
Under the rain-washed globes on Pier 59, the 3-am bench-jockey hobos are sung out. Trash-bag tenors with their Thunderbird arias. Fog sneaks in from the Bay like a ghost and I am grateful for it. I will it to sink into my bones, to slough the pain, the guilt, as cruel and malevolent as it wishes, a flaying, a scouring.
Oh, my love.
How I wish I could have loved you well, how I wish I could have loved you better.
The city names me Jezebel.