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Gordon Taylor

When You Attached

Melancholy by Edvard Munch

I watch a parade of boxed objects for sale on a website. Shop by concept. Canary yellow, blood orange and mint green are the antidote to grief this season. Biodegradable rugs match the photograph above the headboard. Decorate. Emotions arranged by textile.

To wind down the day, I browse men who “viewed me” on dating apps, avoiding the blistering sex. Focus on the feeling of body acceptance. Take a tranquilizer. Scroll versions of truth in the news. I never realized I have so little to say.

It’s time to turn in, but notifications on the phone occupy awareness, demanding to be seen. Tyrannical digital furniture. The futile, fragile crystal vase you gave me tells me about missing you, wet in an aura from the streetlamp.

This congregation of pillows. This bedside drawer of gadgetry and tangle of necessary wire. I look up into the back of my eyelids, deactivating reminders. I nod off at last. Dream warped by moon-tipped waves. The surface is thin, glistening glass phone screen glowing in dark.

I wade in. Drowning at midnight, drenched, I gasp. My sleep tracker records my fear as snoring. I try to go back to sleep. I think I’ll order a replacement bowel in stainless steel, maybe someone else’s heirloom china from an auction site. Maybe a wristwatch to tell me how to live.

My bed moved to the south wall has made everything new, even dreams. It’s a different non-fiction nightmare. This time, shrivelled, dead ants are reanimated by a fungus in a rainforest. Lazarus parasite. Now I’m the ant, skin pockmarked with commas.

Wake, autocorrect, wash. I make a pattern of the world I want. I accelerate patina on the copper figurine by applying lemon, cancelling my pleasure deficit. You text to invite me to have brunch and create vignettes in your new apartment. You want to see me again. Finally.

I arrive, pose your acquisitions: brass and books on shelves, gallery of empty frames. I tell you I have cancer, and then we pose too, with our French toast, and we post our reunion, re-enact all our private jokes, stream a live performance of regret.


About the writer:
Gordon Taylor is a queer poet who walks an ever-swaying wire of technology, health care and poetry. His poems have appeared in Tickle Ace (now Defunct), Prairie Fire, Plenitude, the Bridport Arts Prize Anthology, Months to Years and is forthcoming in Five South and Wire’s Dream.

Image: Melancholy by Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Oil on canvas. 28.3 x 38.5 inches. 1894. Public domain.

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