Gauging Time — Kara Knickerbocker
Some summer day after soccer practice, sitting cross-legged on the floor of your room, I watched in the mirror as you slowly pushed the taper into my ear. The scent of dead skin cells, the tearing of tissue, the Vaseline coating my lobes. I know, it’s gross, you said. But was it weird that I almost liked the smell? We stretched as much as sixteen would allow, from the four walls of our bedrooms & the one stoplight town that birthed us to the downtown streets of Pittsburgh, stretching our paychecks to live off dollar menu paid with coins collected from the floors of the restaurants we worked, stretching nights with liquor we sneaked into the backyard of someone’s house, surrounded by cornfields & the feeling we were on the verge of just going over the edge/of breaking through. Even the black fringe sky knew the moon was splitting it apart. But we never pulled back, kept stretching across phone lines & state lines, sweaty crowds at concerts, legs in the backseats of our first cars, & we bled. The whole time thinking how our parents would kill us, but pushing just the same. We stretched the truth, shrank inside ourselves, hoped like hell we could find some way to heal.