“listening to girl in red on a thursday night wishing you were next to me”

By Carina Stopenski

the lyric goes
		we fell in love in october
		and it has been so long
		since i have felt kismet
	and though i have yet to see your face in flesh
	sitting across from me in a space where
			we both share breath
			it is as if your fingers
			have already met mine
				clasped tight between
				cell tower transmissions
as if i have already
cradled your cheeks
	in my hands
and	pressed my lips to yours
					is this what it’s supposed to feel like

			like a mask finally dropped
			an unapologetic presentation of the self

	no longer creating the me that i think
	people would prefer i be		because you seem to like the real one just fine

you send me your songs	i send you my poems

	and in this exchange of our tenderness
	we whisper our insecurities like a prayer
	that we both thought only we on our own could hear

			so i will press this pipe to my lips
		imagine drawing in the sweetness of you
				and let the song play on
				until i can hold you myself

Carina Stopenski (they/them) is a writer, teacher, and librarian based out of Pittsburgh, PA. Carina received their BFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University, their MSLS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and their MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. Their work has been featured in or is forthcoming from God’s Cruel Joke, iō Literary Journal, Cosmic Double, and Fauxmoir, among others. You can follow their work at www.carinastopenskiwriter.com.

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