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