I was twenty years old at a long glass table writing the same letter for a year. No. Let me start again. I was twenty years old taking photos of the sunset from the interior. “Black Velvet” slipped out of the jukebox right before I tried to slip into the bar. I was twenty years old with dormant daddy issues. My lungs were coated in horseradish. The oven door was loose. The doctors never believed me. I was twenty years old and the college freshman mistook me for the next decade. Typical. I was twenty years old with aloe vera under my eyes. I kept forgetting to replace the batteries in my vibrator. None of my dates ever touched me. I was twenty years old and I never let any of my dates touch me. Wait. I was twenty years old, afraid I would die before the bars actually welcomed me and my dry tastes. I was twenty years old and always good company. I was twenty years old, my wisdom teeth tucked into the far end of my pillowcase. I was twenty years old, and the last time I spoke to my father was in a diner the week before Christmas. I was twenty years old, and then I wasn’t. I was twenty-one years old, openly weeping while standing on black ice, grenadine on my teeth and winter sweat pooling in my party dress. The Roman numerals are getting less and less lonely, my handwriting shakier and shakier. My jaw padlocks itself every morning. I wonder: when the house plant loses a leaf, when the hive begins to crystallize in the sun, when the radio goes hungry—does it remember the way I do?
Lyd Havens is a nationally touring poet and performer currently living in Boise, Idaho. The winner of the 2018 Ellipsis Poetry Prize, their work has previously been published in Winter Tangerine, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, and Homology Lit, among others. They are the author of the chapbook I Gave Birth to All the Ghosts Here (Nostrovia! Press, 2018), and are currently working towards a BFA in Creative Writing and History at Boise State University. They were born on their due date, and have been intensely punctual to everything since.