“Absurdity,” “Straight Man” and “Still You”

Issue 50 by Emily Rose Miller

“Absurdity,” “Straight Man” and “Still You”

Absurdity

The amount of love I hold for him is absurd.

The human body contains approximately 1.5 gallons of blood,

and at least 1.6 gallons of mine is laced with tiny crystal hearts,

each lit up with pictures of his lopsided grin, his uneven teeth,

and that little freckle dotted on his upper lip

and oh, geeze, here I go again.

The amount of love I hold for him is absurd.

And that’s really what I do: hold it. I’m not allowed

to give it to him, anymore, and really, was I allowed

in the first place? Probably not, but human hearts

tend to have brains of their own. Or maybe they have direct lines

to the brain; the heart dials in extension 13 and ring ring,

calls in a favor: let’s fall in love with this one, c’mon, he’s

the best friend with the perfect boyish look,

this thing practically writes itself.

The amount of love I hold for him is absurd.

Holding love, I am now qualified to say, sucks. It stagnates

and festers square in the middle of your chest, and we all know

that infection sets in when things are too still. We also know,

most of us from experience, that infections cause swelling, and we’ve

already established there’s not much room left for anything in my body

because I’ve got more love in my blood than I have any business holding.

So, the love stagnating in my chest just grows and grows with nowhere to go,

no one to give it to, to release it on, and it presses up against my already-too-full

veins and threatens to make me combust. Sometimes,

instead, it comes leaking out of my face. Just a little.

The amount of love I hold for him is absurd.

It sneaks up via my varicose veins to my brain

where it sets up a slideshow of times when I gave him love

and he took it—when it had a place to go and the natural order of things

was right. It plays flickering slides of when I used my mouth

and he used his and they met, clumsily, perfectly, tasting alcohol

and smelling leather. And then it plays pictures I’ve never seen, invented moments

of him as a kid; what was that mouth doing before I knew him? What did it taste,

the good and the bad? What did it say? What did the voice rushing out of it sound like?

The not-memories make me cry almost as much as the things I do remember.

The innocence of him, the joy of him, the adventure of him, the love of him,

makes my own love stretch outward, expanding in a space

it has no room to grow without being able to pour out.

The amount of love I hold for him is absurd,

and I am just a small space with nowhere for it to go.

Straight Man

takes and takes and takes / but he has never bent down / and took it / When you ask him / it’s always miss me / with that gay shit and you wonder / why it’s manly to take / what you want and womanly / to take what is given to you / Straight Man refuses / to sprawl out ass up / because he knows / it is vulnerable / knows he cannot fight / back / Funny that’s exactly what he likes about the position / when you’re in it / pretty pussy / on display open and waiting / to be conquered by a / Straight Man doesn’t see the problem / with it says he’s just not into it / Wonders why you tense / up when he pushes you over / on the mattress exhibits / you so your face is shoved / into the wrinkled sheet / Straight Man thinks that’s what you want / You’re a woman after all / Don’t you want a Man to take / care of you / Want a man / to hold you with one arm / and grope young(er) girls / with the other / Isn’t that the standard / for a Straight Man / Let him loudly croon / Let him grab you / by the pussy / and don’t ever look him in the eyes / and frown.

Still You

If I think of you at night while lying

next to the love of my life

that’s my business, not yours

not his, though maybe I want it

to be.

I do not hurt over you the same

way, anymore. Before it was burning

and always; now it is an occasional ache

I sit with and let go like a wild bird out

the window.

It always flies back. You do not.

I like to think that because I can manage

the pain, now, I’d be okay if I touched

your face. I like to think I’ll have

that opportunity.

Mostly I am learning how to function

with back-pocket love that will never

go to you but can only ever go to you.

The rest of the time I am just trying

to(be) remember(ed).

About the Author

Emily Rose Miller

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Emily Rose Miller (she/her) graduated cum laude from Saint Leo University where she received her BA in English with a specialization in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in Capsule Stories, PopMatters, and Red Cedar Review, among others. Find her online at emilyrosemiller.weebly.com, on Instagram and Twitter @actualprincessemily and @Em_Rose_Miller, respectively, or in real life cuddling with her five cats.