LIFE IN TWOS, Kelsey May

LIFE IN TWOS
by Kelsey May

There are two songbirds flirting with feathered frenzy
outside my window. It is six in the morning, and I’ve
set two alarms to avoid oversleeping, a bad habit,
not unlike the one where I must even out the sides of my
mouth chewing each bite in even numbers, left, left,
right, right. On my way to work, a girl winks, and I must
cross the index and middle fingers on both left and right
hands, this is necessary, for I do not mess around
when it comes to matters of love, of which I am quite
miserable at pursuing or starting or finishing.
In fact, I have only been kissed twice in my life,
and one of these was when Cindy Morrison was dared
to peck me in the hallway in eighth grade, which should
not count, but somehow, I always count it.
Do not ask about the other kiss. It was the only time
I’ve ever said those three little words, which is likely
why things frazzled out, because I live in twos.
When I order from the menu at the Chinese Restaurant
less than two blocks away from the apartment I share
with an aspiring writer who seems more like the type
to mourn his way into happiness through refusing everything,
anyway, at this Chinese Restaurant, Three Happyness
(which isn’t named in twos and so should be avoided by me,
me who must even everything out), I order a double order
of fried rice, a double order of broccoli chicken, a double
order of sweet and sour pork, food that does not quite resemble
food but tastes good anyway. I eat take-out for dinner that night
beneath the lonely lightbulb bare on my dining room ceiling.
The next night, I eat take-out again.
I wash my dishes immediately after dinner.
I dry the dishes with a green towel. Green was my favorite color
during elementary, the way grass looked outside
the classroom window while the clock slit time like envelopes.
Kelsey May is a poet from Michigan and Washington, D.C. She enjoys wearing overalls and ice skating. Her work has also appeared in The Maine Review, Voices, and Mouse Tales Press and is forthcoming in Be About It.
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