This is how you die by distance.
This is how you shake fists at every mile marker and milestone and moon.
Train tracks are steel and cold but heat in the sun, don’t they, but still not the rubber bands you wish them to be every time 11:11 winks a last hope from your cell phone.
There are coffee shops and libraries. Same titles and menu items but they are missing a specific pair of hands cupping a mug of homemade chai or cradling a copy of A Clockwork Orange those same hands that connect the dots on summertime spines.
This is how you die from distance.
Watch the sky turn a rotten raspberry red in three different cities. Pretend that it only happens in the first one. Realize you are pretending and tell the boy with bike grease jeans who is holding your hand about how you thought a tinted pink black abyss was the lake effect.
Hate balconies and chap stick. Climb rails to smoke cigarettes and buy Burt’s Bees anyway. Fall from the railings, get ash in your hair, hate the chap stick. Fall in love with pictures of fire escapes, dream of fire escapes and Brooklyn apartments. Try to become a cliché so you don’t have to feel.
Crave attention. Blame loneliness on every missed phone call, every ignored text. Blame the anger on the arrogance. Hold debates among emotions in your head, let your liver be the mediator but realize too late that it fell apart on the job, passed out on someone’s couch. No emotions win. Instead, get a caffeine-induced headache and take a nicotine-induced nap.
Smoke because he hates cigarettes and lives a three hour time difference away. You’ve never calculated the mileage; you’re terrified of the concrete number because you have always been astounded by how many concrete sidewalk squares make up a block, and how many blocks make up just one mile. Quit smoking because he hates cigarettes. Keep smoking because your body is disappointed in the space between home and happy and houses and mattresses.
Meet someone new. Tell him. Tell him about the night you spent at the new boy’s apartment and listen to him tell new she stories. You thought you’d never hear new she stories but then realized you had been standing at the windows, tossing pebbles while he tried falling for those girls. Give yourself too much credit. Try to apologize.
Shake your fists and wear pomegranate chap stick while you kiss new boys and sort of hate yourself for it. Let distance dissolve in the carcinogens and let it mingle with the cancer, let it kill you. Die by the space between your heart and your words, your lies and his ears, your truths and your mother’s opinions. Die by the distance, die by the silence, die by the lack of concrete sidewalk squares and the abundance of corn fields.