The Coldest January - Tess Walsh


You were sixteen years,

eleven months

and twenty-

One days old

When you ran away

Into the coldest night on record,

With nothing more than your

Acoustic guitar,

Six jars of peanut butter,

And a new name.

When I slept, I dreamed of you,

Incased in ice,

With blue-tinted skin

And frosted eyelashes

And blood so frozen

Your heart gave up,

Just exactly the same way you gave up on everything else.

I woke up screaming your name—

My mother sat down

And didn’t say a word

Until dawn,

When she told me

You would be

Okay

And I threw a copy of

Walden at her head and told her

She was wrong.

She still made my breakfast

And kissed me goodbye

And I hated you for making me

A bitch.

I didn’t cry until I got a call

At ten twenty-two,

Saying that you were safe and

I was wrong.

I sat down, shaking, feeling everything that doesn’t have a name.

I saw you later,

After work,

And my misery came in salt and swears,

Ruining your best sweatshirt.

I counted your heartbeats and

Bathed in your body temperature,

Reveling in each breath

I never thought I’d hear you take.

- - -

Tess Walsh