the curse of a realist

by Alex Thurtle



I’ve never been very good at playing pretend.

the tiaras never shimmered as much as I desired,

the weight of their cheap plastic never lightened the heaviness of tomorrow

          and yesterday;

the feather boas always shed their pieces much too fast.

I could not bring myself to imagine a world where the props meant something. 

the curse of realist is a heavy one

because I never learned to look beyond the things I could

see hear touch smell taste.

but, when I did believe in something, I could not stop.

that made it even harder to pretend that we never were something.

how do I pretend to forget the nights we spent debating

philosophy and religion and heaviness and love and lust and death and hurt

          and pain and us.

how do I pretend to gloss over the way you held my gaze 

much too long

like a toddler clinging to their mother in a grocery store.

how do I pretend that your touch did not

set wildfires along my palms and forearms and chest.

for now though,

I must learn to pretend.

I will learn to put on my plastic dollar-store tiara and my flaky feather boa and

keep moving.

maybe I’ll dream a bit. 


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