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I give up so much sleep for you because I want to live in this bubble of our conversation, this universe of our words and watch as they clash and collide and combine. My eyes burn night after night from staring at the bright phone screen. I am the blue speech bubble waiting for you, the gray speech bubble, to respond, to turn that dancing ellipsis into words. I hate the feeling of what comes [[after you've left|About the Couch]] or after you've said goodnight with a smiley face tacked on the end: my thoughts turn to this bubble, this bubble of what is this that might suffocate us both, trap us like [[cellophane]].
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You are the most [[tangible|smells]] mystery; I want to dissect you. I'm peeling back the layers of you--some figurative autopsy--and I'm pulling open your skin, your muscle, and cutting through your ribs. I'm cradling your liver and lungs, considering the oxygen and alcohol that fueled you. I'm staring at that throbbing [[cardiac muscle|we've]]--a grenade-like organ, pounding.
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I try to make sense of you by stacking every word of what you've said and every movement of your body into a giant Lego tower in my mind--all the mix-matched colors: all those words--a constant clashing of everything you are and all those movements--your hands through your hair for the millionth time & you twisting and turning to crack every part of your [[body|About the Knowing & the Not Knowing]] & [[your arm around my back|About the Couch]]--that I press together before sifting through and reorganizing them, slowly reconstructing them into the [[Empire State Building]].
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Shouldn't sleeping with some girl you meet at some party be how you get over your past relationship as opposed to talking to [[me|reality]]? All [[we've]] been doing is sitting on a [[couch|About the Couch]].
I could wrap you in cellophane, strap you to a table, and hold the knife, poised to stab you in the heart. Let me redirect the blood flow, pull at your veins and arteries like piƱata strings, let it all come out--this poison, I swear I'll kill it. But I can't. I'd only [[slice|About the Living]] you free, let the knife fall into your hands, so you can stab me. So kill me with whatever this is. Cocoon us both in cellophane. We can suffocate together. Let our warm bodies turn cold in this winter of [[confusion|About the Fairytale]]. I will lie in wait for you to press the blade against my breast.
Or I'll catch your scent for a second somewhere in my apartment where you haven't been yet, I'll pause to breathe in all of what remains of you as if you're a ghost, like all I have left is what's [[bled|cellophane]] into the fabric of furniture and clothes, like dust in the [[sunlight|About the Obsession]], glimmering but nearly intangible. It's like I'm back in that [[bubble|About the Bubble]]. I'm back trying to understand you.
It's hilarious how made-up all this seems, how made-up so much of my life seems.\nThis is not my [[reality]]. This is my [[fiction]].
You give me this [[confidence|reality]] that feels like cold air in my [[lungs|About the Knowing & the Not Knowing]], it's quiet and sharp and reminds me that I am here and that I am breathing. I heard that you are alive, and, funny, so am I.
We are turning into every bad teenage romantic comedy; opposites are [[attracting|toward your attention]], social hierarchies are collapsing, and we are disrupting the [[order|About the Enigma]] of our lives for something that might [[not even have a happy ending|cellophane]].
When you're not here, I go and sit on the couch like I did when you were over and I sniff the cushion where you sat and where your arm rested, and sometimes it [[smells]] faintly of [[you|About the Enigma]].
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The attention you give me: texting me [[when you're out|fiction]] with friends, sparing me the free hours of your [[Sunday evenings|About the Couch]].
Open & Honest & Weird: a Hypertext Prose Poem
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There's a blue block that says "what's good" from when I heard you answer a [[phone call|About the Bubble]] from your friend back home and it's right next to a green block that says "militarizing is the wrong thing to do at this stage in [[humanity|About the Living]]" and it's stacked on top of a yellow block regarding your black belt, and there's the red block next to it that lists all your "[[physical ailments|About the Knowing & the Not Knowing]]"-legs of different length, slipped disk in your back, kidney stone, and all the bruises and cuts that frequent you.
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You're Earth and I'm Pluto. Some don't even recognize me as anything. Some days I think you'd like to believe the sun revolves around you. I'm just grateful for what sun there is. But don't let me change your course; I fear I might change mine so I can spend more time passing you, catching you from afar. I wish you'd remain some far off speck, just another uninteresting chunk of rock. Every time you pass me, it feels like an eclipse, drawing every crumb of my existence [[toward your attention]].
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I know I don't have enough to pull you in, make you my moon, but I wish I did, and I hate myself for that. We are not the only planets in each other's solar systems--still, [[I fear|cellophane]] the black hole so many [[disappear|smells]] into.
A friend once said to me, "I know very well that you get little choice in how you feel about things and what people mean to you. Emotions are everything but fair."\n[[Begin Reading|About the Meeting]]
We'd never meet if it weren't for words and classes and the small universe of this campus and the internet and how I can type all these words and maybe send them to you and feel okay that there is so much [[space|About the Obsession]] and [[screens|About the Bubble]] and technology between us that I'll never have to fear your immediate reaction like I would if this was all face to face.
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Maggie Stough
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