Letter No. 15 from Dear Portia

Dear Portia, our mouths are brimming with silver tequila—bend forward, bend your knees, spill, spill. Our tongues swollen like cacti; you’ve got to trust we’ll keep in this heat. At least we have our spines. In this desert gas station you hold your breath as the cashier tells of how the sky’s scaffolding shattered like ice in the sudden heat. Let’s paint our fingernails with gasoline & leave this sand & dust for the cold, blue mountains. Let’s head for home, where the last irises are undressing each other in the garden, their slender bodies exposed. Winter’s coming—do you feel your vertebrae splitting? Blood & body fluid seeping into the new space? Dear Portia, last summer was a rumour some girl made up because she was hungry. Now the weatherman says to put things in the oven just to watch them rise. Portia, in another life I promised I’d tell you how to thaw the memories of people and places you once thought you wanted to forget. I’d like to explain these small collapses, but here I am again: jaw frozen shut, eyes spilling tears.

Jenny Boychuk has a BA in Writing from the University of Victoria. Her work can be found in The Malahat Review, PRISM international, Room, Salt Hill Journal, The Pinch, and Birdfeast. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers' Program.