I wanted this elegy to be more self-centered

by Kristen Brida

I think I have wanted
a more pure
grief in a language where
an I could not hold
its own surrounded by other words. I wanted
to mourn like nobody else could,
to imagine you, Taylor,
think of your plum
lipstick smeared on a Solo cup of Franzia
reading aloud terrible
typewriter poems for hours
until you felt moved. I wanted
to watch the movement
unfold in this dorm room,
where I have no body, where I
am not drinking
straight from a bag of wine
where I am not also
moved by poems with lines
about writers looking at the bottom of a bottle
and seeing their own bottom instead.
The stupidest things can move me—it’s so
embarrassing, Taylor. I water when I think
of my mom crying at an episode of Long Island Medium
the psychic in a thick Jersey accent tells someone
she detects their father’s presence in their bathroom.
Aging can make you so soft or moved
but I haven’t decided which.
I pretend you, Taylor, would say something
along the lines of in order for softness
to occur, there has to be
a movement towards softness,
away from its original state. A memory
foam pillow gets softer as it cradles a head.
Some days I think
I have so much
that I can write
your name with such ease
write it down as if your name
bores your life over
and over again
until I’ve created
another kind of realness
And other days I think
I am just a person
who is desperate
to articulate
any distance
or proximity between us

Kristen Brida’s poetry has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, New Delta Review, Josephine Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Tinderbox, Whiskey Island, Hobart, The Journal, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from George Mason University.

Artwork by: Drigo Diniz