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hip bones - toni kochensparger



My heart is broken. Like it was made of glass and someone took a rock and just beat it

until it was in pieces so small they couldn’t break any farther. They could just feel pain.

I cannot move. I sit at my desk in the hopes that I will do something. That I will write something. But instead of words. Done out by hand onto my notepad instead I just feel my body slowly falling forward. Instead of words it’s just everything gets blurry and I lean forward, bent over my knees and just hurt.


I haven’t eaten. All day I sit at my desk and flux between moments bent over and aching and moments sitting up, in front of a blank page, staring into the wall and waiting for something to happen on it and inside me hating me for not being able to get myself to write.

You fell in love with me for my poems.


Childrens’ poems about animals in funny outfits or or or they had cute occupations or or little habits that I used to write when I was in high school and then I went to college and for the first time I shared them.


With professors and with classmates and sometimes I would take them to the coffee shop that we all went to and I would read them there. To the coffee shop where other young writers were waxing anger about being young and being broke and being and love and being heartbroken and sex and God and the government and feelings, little feelings that people that age are having for the first time about trust and about selfishness and about loneliness and about insecurity and about their parents and about lust and about.

And me with my childrens’ verses. And me with my

Skyfish

MooseSong

Rosie and the Red Hat


And people and people. And people would come up to me afterwards. People would come up to me and they would talk to me and they would tell me. Would tell me would tell me that I was good. At this. That this was a this this was a real thing that I should try to do for real that I should try to make into a a a a book. Or something. That I reminded them of Shel Silverstein or I reminded them of Robert Louis Stevenson or I reminded them of being five and this one day in summer and it was afternoon and they were sitting with their daddy who all of a sudden did something silly that only a daddy would know how to do and the two of them played and the two of them wrestled and the two of them tickled each other which made her laugh which made her wet herself while she was trying to tickle him back but he was much bigger but he was hard to reach but he’s a daddy and even in those few, successful moments when she could reach him he’s a daddy and he’s not ticklish.


And that there was something adult about them that made them. That made them, you know, accessible. That like one guy who said he didn’t want kids said he would want them, maybe, on accident or something, so the two of them could sit together and they could read this. So that she could learn and he could also learn.


And nobody was going up to the other people. Friends and girlfriends were but not strangers. Not like my strangers.


Not the people coming up to me.


Not a young boy who said he was an illustrator. And who had these strange perfect eyes. And was skinny and his hip bones stuck out from his shirt and when he smiled.


Who would wake up next to me for the next three years. And sometimes his hip bones were the first thing I saw.


Who would illustrate every one of the poems I wrote, as I wrote them. Who would sit beside me and paint and then need a break and we would smoke a cigarette after and then go back to work.


Who I shared with like I didn’t share with anybody else.


Who would sleep in in the mornings and I had the mornings all to myself and I liked that because those were important to me.


And I would write and wait for him to wake up and then we would start working.


On our book.


On our book that was my thesis project.


On our book which wasn’t getting any attention and then all of a sudden was getting attention and then all of a sudden was being fought for by two different publishers and we would sometimes ignore their emails so we could have sex or go on a date and somehow ignoring it made it even better that it was happening.


And we would laugh and we would fantasize about the future like we both did when we were alone about being successful and being famous and about tours and Q&As and literary criticism and art criticism. Like we both did when we were alone only it was together.

Because we were going to be together.


And then, together, we got out of bed and put on our clothes and you I remember you put your shirt on backwards and I made fun of you but you kept calling yourself The Professional and you had business to attend to and the whole time we were writing them back you kept doing it and reading their offers in a very business-like tone and then I couldn’t stop laughing but then I did stop laughing but then you took your pants off and started it all over again and it was minutes and minutes and minutes before we sent them something back.


And the future that we dreamed about happened. And we went on a book tour together and we slept in hotel beds together and we got drunk in hotel beds together and made a mess of hotel beds together and we drove from city to city and we got lost like every day and we joked about how if we got married we wouldn’t buy a house we would just buy a really nice car because we spent so much time there and we would it would be big and it would have a desk in the back and a drafting table for you and a shower with five jets in it and a chandelier and a Persian rug and a backyard for the dogs to run around in and a sex dungeon in the basement.


And we were stupid with all the money that we made and we spent as much of it as we could on whatever we felt like which was anything and everything and like sometimes even we were too broke to buy gas and sometimes didn’t make it to a city and we had to call our agent to pick us up and Tom would show up all pissed-off and be like you made two-thousand dollars last week and we would lie about student loans and discreetly you like put a blanket over our drug box which we made together at one of those craft parties at Home Depot and we kept saying things really loudly and obnoxiously about how “THIS’LL MAKE A GREAT STORAGE SPACE FOR SHOES AND THE LIKE” and “IF WE PUT A LID ON IT WE CAN SIT ON IT” and then for the next month-and-a- half we couldn’t stop saying that and but so we kept saying all these things and nobody at the craft party gave a fucking shit but we thought we were so funny because little did they know we were going to fill it to the brim with pot and coke you know, whenever we had the money and you painted a Seahorse. And now it was when we had the money and now it was filled with pot and coke and those pills we bought in Denver from that Indian guy who made us call him “Doctor Pill” and but so you’re throwing the blanket over the box because we accidentally left the lid on that you can sit on in Texas or somewhere near Texas and Tom is pouring gas into the back and muttering to himself like a dad who can’t help but be disappointed and feed us the same bullshit about learning to be responsible but then later smile when we’re on stage at some Barnes & Noble like he didn’t want to murder us six hours ago and I would read and you would sit next to me and we would answer questions and sign copies and the whole time the whole time your foot would nudge my leg under the table like it was saying, over and over in the sweetest foot voice:


I love you. I love you. I love you.


and all I could do was smile. And now all I can do is stare

at

the

wall.

Or be bent over.


Be shaking a little. With just my hand pressed against

my chest

because wounds need pressure.


Or I can think about how angry I am at me.


Because it shouldn’t matter that you’re gone. It shouldn’t matter that you’re not around or not far away but still in touch with me and I don’t even have to get up before you do to really write I have the whole day I have the whole day I have so much time.


But I can’t get one word out.


Because words are what made you fall in love with me. And I think you took them with you when you left.



Toni Kochensparger was born in Kettering, Ohio and now lives in Ridgewood, New York, where they write jokes on trash that they find on the street. Their short stories can be found in Kelp Journal, miniMAG, Caveat Lector, Poor Ezra’s Almanac, Bulb Culture Collective, Free Spirit, Breathe Bold, Alien Buddha, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, The Writing Disorder, Two Two One, Impspired, 100subtexts, In Parentheses, and Scribble. Their work can be found online at linktr.ee/gothphiliproth

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