Love and Other Drugs

I saw you, for the first time, sitting on the lid of that dumpster.
All green and black and blue,
Locked out of your ex’s apartment
Smoking away the pain of an ankle broken from trying to sneak through the fire escape door.

I thought you were beautiful then—
Swear I still do—
All bruises and tequila and weed,
Rolled up neat into the woman I thought I would be
When I was in middle school and drugs made you cool—
But Public School, Suburbia deals only in Adderall and no one I knew was selling.

I wake up to you, not for the first time, tracing patterns on your scars.
All rosy and mottled and hard,
That same smell clinging to your skin—
Of back alleys and blue smoke, rain and the pain of loss, chemical in the air.

And if I had known you then—
In the year of braces and buckle heeled shoes—
Would we have braided our hair together?
Four hands, two heads, one cord,
Intertwined and knotted to leave us both bloodied
If either tried to leave.

Or would you have sold me those drugs?
Laughed and called me names when I threw up after my first joint—
A true story I’ve never told you
From the undergrad years you always thought I hated.

You fight in your sleep, for what feels like the hundredth time,
All knees and elbows
Caught up in my grandmother’s quilt.
The scent of sex has faded, and the air has lost its heat
But, when I kiss you good morning,
The taste of cherry pop and poison still lingers on my lips.

SARAH EDMONDS is a queer author and filmmaker from southeastern Pennsylvania. She is Editor-in-Chief of For Page & Screen Magazine and Video Editor for West Trade Review's Visual Poetics. Her debut novella, LATE NIGHTS AT FULL MOON RECORDS, will be released by Thirty West Publishing House in September 2023.