“Partly Because of Your Love for Yogurt,” “Half Dark,” and “You asked if we would always be friends”

In Issue 66 by Abigail Chorley

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Photo by Dima Sobko at Shutterstock

Partly Because of Your Love for Yogurt

title taken from “Having a Coke with You” by Frank O’Hara

it was the way you stood in the dark kitchen long after

               the oven had already cooled, slurping

               just out of date yogurt but also because the first

time we talked, you listened, swaying me gently

               in constant commas shifting slightly

               (while everyone else played poker for crisps)

and then slight squiggles in your seat until I noticed

               and you stepped out to the toilet (and came back)

               because you weren’t finished bothering me yet.

partly because you grumbled at most things, claiming your wrinkles

               were real and not the guise of 26 staring into future with fear

               and hope (the kind of thing I would call bravery)

the kind of thing you would dismiss

               in favour of straight lines on blueprints

               and thick ham sandwiches, ever hungry (how did it fit into your frame?)

partly because the day I finally packed my broken purple suitcase

               I wondered if you understood how many things rubberstripped

               wheels propel, and you watched me stop to take a portrait of a slug

and without any malicious comment, you held out your hand to show

               how small a thing this was, as if every girl saying goodbye spends

               the last of her time one knee against the earth, digging.

which is to say what a gift you are (if only for a moment)

               and I’m glad you waited even after the bus left (that little wave)

               and I should have said this but didn’t.

Half Dark

The most beautiful disappointment:

a second winter kills all freshly

formed buds with snow frosting

               a future now never to come.

               It is too early to be called evening. the neighbors

               grill fat slabs of meat and the scent

               wafts over the fence. an owl cries.

Does he know he should

be resting from the hunt, should

be wing

wrapped around some tree with his children?

Is killing

his catch worth it?

Is letting mine go?

You asked if we would always be friends

True, we are unwinding:

red to blues to grey, stretching

personalities and synapses into new

shapes. But use the same word from addition

to calculous? You know better

than to equate everyone at an office party.

Even after there are more blonde hairs

on the brush than scalp, I will come

again, sit on your porch and speak

of your children. Recognise

the dust and know real roots

are always well-packed. And then we

can fall to language impossible

to teach or forget. The one

which requires no words at all

but might look like dancing

in the grocery store while ABBA plays.

About the Author

Abigail Chorley

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Although I have lived in the United States, United Kingdom and France, I currently reside in Edinburgh where I am a postgraduate student studying comparative literature at Edinburgh University. I have a broad background in the field of literature, poetry, language, and art. My poetic work has appeared in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, Shards of Light Literary Magazine, and Eunoia Review. Among my poetic inspirations are Ellen Bryant Voigt, Wendell Berry, and most obviously Frank O'Hara.