Sarah Jean Alexander


I am taking small but substantial steps
to increase my personal capacity
for being an emotionally extensive reason
to exist—

around the trees, around the grass, around the air
that you are allowed to breathe, around the cotton
that presses between the smell of your feet
and the wet of your soles

in the Clarks that should have been thrown out
exactly five years ago,
with the shoelaces that have been replaced three times already.
Why are they still pressed against you and
I am not?

I don’t know exactly how to answer
these questions, but
recently I realized that

I’ve been suffering from some
miniature form of
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
since you left

and I know I’m not supposed to admit this kind of defeat
as a woman
but I also know I’m supposed to let my body feel
whatever my mind is going to instruct it to feel.
The point that I am trying to drive home
is that I simply don’t remember
the feeling of your body encompassing mine
on a weekend morning.

I don’t remember
the pitch of your voice the first time you said my name
after we fought about Christmas.

I don’t remember the wait that I never admitted to caring about
because I wanted to make sure
you meant it.

I don’t remember any of it
and it’s finally clear that you don’t, either.
It’s like we match,
I’m sure of it.

Everything is very easy now—
Everything is a math problem to me
Every obstacle can be calculated, divided, and saved for later.
Any dilemma can be zeroed out and any conflict can be
stretched towards infinity without bounds.

You shook your head like a word desperately clinging to the tip of your tongue,
You coughed into your shoulder like a million years.
You reached for my hand like you were kidding yourself.
You finished lunch like never alone.
You looked at my hips like swearing under your breath.
You made a sound like waking up.

Sarah Jean Alexander is a writer from Baltimore, MD. She has been published in HOBART, Illuminati Girl Gang, Keep This Bag Away From Children, Black Candies, and other online and print journals. Her book of poetry and short stories, Wildlives, is forthcoming from Big Luck Books in 2015. You can request to follow her on twitter at @sarahjeanalex.