Karen Ashburner

I walk through the kitchen on my tiptoes, eating pizza from a plate made of glass I bought from the thrift store. It was one plate of six and now there is only this one in the world and it lives with me but not by choice.

I go outside and it’s cold. I come back in and it’s raining and still nothing has changed. You still live on the other side of America.

We make arbitrary rules for one another to prove we care: you are not allowed to call me beautiful; I am not allowed to tell you to stop.

Five years pass and nothing changes except the length of my hair and how poorly I read and the diminishing number of plates in my cupboard. My hair gets longer and then shorter and more blonde and then long again and I am able to read less and less and yet I have more books.

The letters become more blurry the harder I try. The paragraphs make sense but the sentences are an incoherent mess.

Spaghetti noodles. Pizza sauce. Chewy vitamins. All of it living on the other side of America.

Tomorrow I will post more pictures for you if I wake up. Tomorrow I will fall in love just a little bit more and then regret telling you about the one plate I have left, how it hangs on a string at my window like the moon in a poem by Pablo Neruda.

Karen Ashburner lives and works in North Carolina. She has been published in Burrow Press Review, The Molotov Cocktail, Sonder Review, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, and elsewhere. You can find her here or on Twitter @sweetrocketsky.