When I find handwritten notes, lists,
I’m convinced they’ve been written
for me to take to the grocery store
or remind me of neglected chores.
Once, I even bought applesauce:
the only listed item not checked off
on a mustarded McDonald’s napkin.
I’m waiting for anything to happen
when I see the paper at my feet,
a torn page of lined notebook sheet
with only two scribbled words:
It doesn’t belong with the worms,
so I stuff it in my jacket pocket
and pretend I’m the “Baby” on it.
The only person who calls me that
only calls me “Baby” when I’m wet.
But I want to be known all the time
as “Baby,” to be that opening line.
I’d prefer dependent over “friend”:
exiled, limited, and condemned.
I’m curious about the other pieces
of the letter, but I have my reasons
for carrying an unwanted scrap:
I see it as an unfolded road map
for the woman I am in his presence.
On my terms I’ll finish the sentence.
Laryssa Wirstiuk is a writer and writing instructor based in Jersey City, NJ. She teaches writing and digital media at Rutgers University. Her writing has been published in Hamilton Stone Review and The Stockholm Review of Literature, and is forthcoming in Barely South Review. You can view all her work here: http://www.laryssawirstiuk.com.