Don’t Tell Me to Write More Love Poems

as if I’ve never been to the Taco Bell
on the beach at 9am
with a hooded man seated across from me
at a dirty table,
waiting for our number to be called—
as if I’ve never seen the sandy deck and
its walk-up window and wished
for more ode and less elegy in my life,
or written both with nothing but hot sauce
and a couple of napkins—
as if Pacifica is ever without fog, or as if
I am ever without fog, as if when he
looked at me and tugged the cords
of his sweatshirt it meant something
other than warmth—
as if I’ve never heard the dirge
of a sunset at this same table,
the fear of being found out or let go
as palpable as an egg taco made
probably, definitely
entirely out of powder and hot water—
as if the crunch of a quesadilla
can only burn the mouth of someone
not in love at the Taco Bell
on the beach—
as if I haven’t both not been in love
and been in love,
as if I haven’t felt the latter beat the former
every goddamn time.

Jiordan Castle is author of the chapbook All His Breakable Things. Winner of the 2018 Pigeon Pages essay contest and a Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in New Ohio Review, Third Point Press, Vinyl, and elsewhere. She is a regular contributor to the LA-based food and culture magazine Compound Butter and lives in New York City with a pug named Hacksaw.

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