Laryssa Wirstiuk

Do You Prefer the Calm Before or After the Storm?

The tub’s textured bottom is coated with biodegradable gold, and I’ll forever be angry at the snow. Meanwhile a blizzard is arriving sideways in Philly and across the Eastern coast. My last time in this city with a rectilinear grid shouldn’t have been such a challenge to navigate. “Shut the fuck up,” was something that had been said. I had given my heart to the backwash in a bottle of Victory while resting my forehead on a bodega’s laminated table. Mayonnaise is always accidental, and every day is Independence Day in a rented railroad- style apartment: Mid-Century and Postmodern for the time being. Enjoy this imposition that requires neither shovels nor travels because too soon we’ll be boarding a plane with a safety video performed by gentlemen’s club dancers. Will you miss this? Not the weather but the heightened sense of smell and the wisdom to wear sunglasses for the walk of shame, the morning after. Until we arrive I’ll wear a flannel and a jacket over black-lace lingerie and glitter. No matter where we land, I’ll want you always naked in the light with a spoon of yogurt in your mouth and Sunday morning in your eyes. Outside lower your gaze and let the white detonate your irises. The ground’s no longer fertile. Anyone can see we’ve lived here our whole lives - not here - but with the weight of branches stooping beneath ice. I thought I’d be used to this by now, but when you move to kiss my forehead in the morning and tell me not to inspect the accumulation without you, I can’t believe it’s you waiting for me in the lukewarm water: the man who was sure he couldn’t fit in a tub that looked, to me, built exactly for two. Leaving the city the wrong way on a one-way street is all I can do without turning around.