not for my urging
for Ashley and several others strong
We write our own destiny. We become what we do, and you are coffee and clean saucer. You are
grandmother cardigan and roller derby lipstick. You are sunglasses and dusk.
Believe in yourself and you will succeed is what I’ve told you before but what you won’t believe until it’s
been unwrapped and pried from a cookie. Mine says I will go somewhere new, and I want to switch
because you are the traveler. You, who would be less uneasy if you were bolted to a different time
zone without heavy jackets and dipped chins avoiding wind. Go soon, but stay now. Share with me
in these eye teeth and tea.
Chance favors those in motion and you are the makings of perpetual, something wound and waiting for
undying release, and When you’re riding ahead of the herd, look back once in a while to make sure it’s still there,
but when it isn’t, don’t you dare turn back. By then, it belongs to that which does not fear wolves.
Don’t fret. All your friends will be able to zig whenever you zag, even as you zag west. I can only imagine the
humidity difference, that maybe sheets always feel briefly misted, how atmospheric-compacted snow
must sound melting. I cannot climb mountains, but I can ride the train. Let me take the couch
instead. Restrict my water use. Let me pick and boil bones. I want to wear this vagabond life in all its
stitches and tears.
In order to take one must first give. As in given company, as in taken walks, as in first moons and
arguments to dawn about what they are and what they mean. As in new moons. As in blood moons.
As in blue moons, and snow moons, and cold moons. As in harvest moons. As in the smallest
southern sliver of which we know no name.
The problems of today will be buried by the sands of time. Be the excavator who takes brush to bone. Stand
them up all you like. They’ll need the tendon, the muscle, too, the flesh and the heart, the voice, its
condensation left on window, mirror, and spoon. I want to tell you that even unearthed and
repurposed, what you hold is only the left-behind, where there is no tongue behind teeth.
Brave is the one who is not afraid to admit mistakes and to know when we have made none. Had I been
born pocketed mouse, I know I could live off your traveled crumbs and rain, but I am here and your
abandoned chair survives only as kindling that ignites and perfumes our space with smoke, fueled by
the same breath that once promised no man will ever love you like me.
Timston Johnston is the founding editor of Little Presque Books. Other similar pieces can be found at Cheap Pop, Split Lip Magazine, Atticus Review, New Mexico Review, and Juked. His most recent fortune cookie read: Somebody is thinking of you, which triggered his mild agoraphobia.