I want to send this before midnight, but my internet’s been cutting out. The router and modem blink red and white— little sparks and flickers—a Christmas tree beneath my desk. My office is lit up like an alien spaceship—the glow and jerking light on the dashboard of a doomed flight. I’m not a luddite— I restart, unplug, push the reset button, but every email to you goes unsent. Non-violent communication—now called compassionate communication—I studied during marriage counseling with my ex. Those techniques didn’t work then, or now. Our attempts at poetry, love, and space exploration failed. Oh well. I hope you’re next to a fireplace holding someone close, ignoring the computer and phone, sipping on hot chocolate with marshmallows. I can’t return. I trip on wires, things go blast, and my responses are never opened. Maybe my emails have been abducted. You too. Dozens of men—frozen in vats—stand in a lab awaiting release. The good news: I don’t see you there. We weren’t serious enough to morph into monster. I want to be the one who got away, but that’s not true. We are friends. I wish I could erase the rest. If I did that, there would be no poems, no book. No, I want to write you. We have the same keyboard, all letters in the same order, the same cursor— the black line pulsating like the burn on the eye after the camera’s flash, a blinking yield sign at the train tracks, the heart monitor reporting the body’s rhythm, the same 20-weight, standard bright multipurpose paper (for everyday performance), and the same brand printer that jams when fed too much at once, yet we arrive to the table with such different takes. I’m one-syllable words—dark, breast, rope, kiss, drench, quench. Your diction’s higher and you never get undressed. I guess art does replicate life. I hit send. You delete.
Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet's Haven, 2019). Work forthcoming from Sledgehammer Lit and Whale Road Review. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review. Website: catdix.com Twitter: @DixonCat