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
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
maybe I’ll dream a bit.