Raise a toast to this little hole in the wall. An ache like a heel bone, thick callus like I’m walking Chanel, Fall-Winter 1992. Bless these high arches, these cork buckle sandals, cushion the asphalt, the left turns onto southbound interstates.

Dig half a lifetime’s payload from the u haul. Headboards, sweaters, yearbooks, cowl hemlines and indigo viscose graze the high ankle, cinch the natural waist. August, it’s an ice pop, it’s tart cherry juice. It’s the neighbor’s front porch, stained lips, citric acid tongues. Cradle the cartilage, the pin prick. Clasp grandma’s cameo sweetheart brooch and sepia developer pools into smile lines, creasing the emulsion.

Collect my what if questions like oak rings, like a boarding pass, ATX to SEA, like refilling a tall glass of sweet tea. An Austin happy hour melting candle wishes quicker than 26 + 1 flames.

Extinguish + 1 and its bleached cotton sheets, oak picnic tables and a pint of craft microbrew. A prayer, 400 thread count. A plea that St. Paul is more than a collection of pixels, lips curled, scanning the subject line.

Add a hello from you, now this 2,000 mile odyssey in a waffle knit cardigan, paper bag shorts, dry shampoo appears in f/2.8. Steep for fifteen minutes in the Great Salt Lake, Pueblo, in Santa Fe. Incandescence dripping in 98% humidity. Haven’t we met before, are you from around here? A boarding pass to collect my name, my eyes wide open, my decision to stay.

The afterglow, she’s a roadside map when the state park chains the front gate at dusk. I know I told you that I don’t drive. But I like to take in the beat of your turn signal from the passenger seat. My lungs, they can’t deflate, they can’t digest The Brotherhood, et. all.

Pages, titles, chapters, sweat. Condensation rolls, collects in temples, voter pamphlets. A Sunday roast for Plath, Salinger, Siri, Alexa. Ten pages, Times New Roman, MLA format. Double space a can of Diet Coke clasped between an open question; semicolon. Stanzas glow crimson, ochre, ultramarine. Highlights buried below the signature.

Fade Into You melts down lumbar curvature. Gish, she sings her lullaby. No fissures form in the foundation, no 737 jet stream goodnight. A cirrus like a new moon and linen wicks the flame. I brush my teeth, I put a kettle to the steam. I squeeze my eyes and now little stars stream down, sparks to the oak flooring. Home: a 3-bedroom, shared bath. A craftsman with no air conditioning.

I pray that a windshield wiper grants two pennies tossed in the fountain, 20 yards more clearance than a collect call to a TV psychic. That et. all strikes a match in the pale ale, in vanilla buttercream, in candle wax exhales. And that you’re that glow of a street light in this torrential summer storm.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Molly Walsh

Molly Walsh is a graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied visual and performing arts. Over the years, Molly has found herself wearing many hats as a photographer, writer and reporter for numerous publications around the South Sound region of Washington State and beyond. Molly's poetry has appeared in October Hill Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pioneertown and Maudlin House. You can find more of her work at mollywphoto.com.