It’s like a runny nose waking you in the middle of the night from dreams of dark water warm in your lungs before you could wash onto shore. You wipe your face, smear the thick snot, drift back to R.E.M. to see if the story can ever change. When you do wake it’s to the smell of pennies and what sounds like brittle maple leaves, see a now russet-blonde curl lying in a hardened swirl. It crunches when you pinch it. Rose petals pattern the pillowcase, darkened around the edges from hours wilting. Dried blood cakes into the back of the hand like an interstate road map you never needed because you knew that you’d always stay. You managed the stains as best as you could, but they’re still shadows on the sheets Some days you glance in the mirror and even your tear streaks reflect red. When you sniffle you swear that you smell iron.
By Sammy Massimino