by Margo McManus

A Number:

I see you kiss her in corners,
Snog behind the building,
Neck in the bathroom.
You’re careful of the cameras,
Of feelings,
Wandering eyes,
But your technique leaves something to be desired.
She doesn’t notice;
You’ve got your hand up her heart and those big eyes will swear they’re staring at God.
I know because my watch is two seconds fast and the engine only idles so long.
Waiting in the parking lot is murder.

Another Number:

It’s supposed to be a secret.
No more for me though, and it makes me sick.
That secret was something I never had until it didn’t concern me.
I want to vomit out the window but we’re still on the highway and the way you laugh sends static
through the radio.
I fiddle with the knobs,
The air vents,
Watch your knuckles dance across the dash.
You look over and ask if I like being your latest victim and I want to say I never got to be.
You only mean your awful taste in music, though,
So I scoff and pretend I’m not turning green when I decide I’ll keep it.
Maybe she’ll get out of this alive, but that
Doesn’t mean I won’t steal her chapstick.
The weather’s getting chilly and
You’ll be greeted by cracking skin with every nip.
Here’s to hoping you like the taste of blood.

More Numbers:

I was right about the cold,
But your breath has never smelled of iron.
There’s always a bubble of warmth wrapped around the both of you, and her lips are pink,
While I’m shivering in three layers.
The chapstick was as useless as it was petty,
So it’s my own mouth peeling,
The skin dropping into my hands.
You still haven’t faded from my eyelids and
My breath pours out like soup steam.
I smoke it in the places that could use the heat.
Of course that’s no where near you.

Even More Numbers:

Things have only gotten colder.
My chapped lips were just the beginning,
And I’ve had to upgrade to numbness just to get through the day.
I don’t want to care when my arms start falling off.
Sometimes I think that’s how you could have been tattooed on my skin,
Because I wouldn’t have felt it when they took a needle to my flesh,
But somehow I think the artist had mercy,
Painted you with henna instead.
If I turn to look in the mirror and you’ve been made red and nothing though,
I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

Too Many Numbers:

It’s never been about her really,
Even when she stretches her letters like the best kind of bubble gum,
Pops sentences into staccato bursts.
Each bubble explodes in the silence,
Sticks to her face before she licks it away with a smile.
You glance in the rearview exactly once,
When the windshield starts to defrost.
Perhaps you saw something you couldn’t swallow.
I can tell your eyes don’t believe in God,
But can you tell mine don’t believe in you?
Something sticks to the shoes at your feet.
Cindy’s sweating in the backseat.
I snicker,
Turn up the heat.

Author Bio: Margo Marie McManus is a high school junior with passion for art, poetry, and Straight A’s. She enjoys writing about anything she finds inspiring, from warm popcorn to something she heard in the hallways. Margo lives in South Carolina with two cats, her parents, and far too many shoes.