a reply in five sonnets, which are not sonnets, or even poems, & whatever this is—a rant? a screed? a manifesto against you leaving me & entering an MFA program?—it is not easily divisible into five sections

a reply in five sonnets, which are not sonnets, or even poems, & whatever this is—a rant? a screed? a manifesto against you leaving me & entering an MFA program?—it is not easily divisible into five sections

Edie: I saw a clip of you on my feed talking about a white-gold bracelet you wanted to sell. You wore your olive knit jumpsuit & oversized round glasses for your appearance on that television show, a limited web series, as it turns out. Pawn Girls or Filthy Lucre or Filthy Pawn Girls Who Do Anything For Lucre, something along those lines. You presented the bracelet to the camera & gave a little speech about an ex-boyfriend from a long time ago who tried to win your heart. “He failed,” you said. “Wasn’t the man for me.” This is untrue. It was three months ago. What happened to fact-checking? To someone calling you on your bullshit? Your pseudo-intersectional feminism? The show’s host, who I recognized from a tabloid mephedrone scandal, egged you on. He asked if you wanted to sell or pawn the bracelet, & you smirked & said, “I don’t want this thing back. Didn’t want it in the first place. Maybe it has scrap value?” The host laughed & said he’d heard you wanted to be a poet. “I am a poet,” you snapped. “I just need some money for grad school.” The slack-jawed host gummed to the camera that one of his experts would take a look, give you his best price. After watching this clip, Edie, I didn’t know what to think. The bracelet was my mother’s, a present from my father to celebrate their first year of marriage. I remember him telling me that he had bought the piece from a local jeweler. It was antique, late-Victorian. The jeweler thought the bracelet was bespoke, made for a woman of English nobility. Edie, a tiny family crest sits on the underside of the clasp. If you look through a loupe, you can make out the billet & fetterlock. The bracelet is too good for someone like you. Even when we dated, I despised your smugness, the constant feeling that you could do better & I saw this again in your comment about the clip: I don’t know who needs to hear this… but you can move on. Funny, you needed me when your Zoloft ran out & when you needed someone to take your side in an argument with your father. He was right about your student loan payments, by the way. & your English degree, your thesis on Anne Sexton, your crush on Dr. Wainwright. None of it came to anything. So don’t say that I gaslit you again. If anything, it was you who kept undermining me: I read the notebook you kept by your bedside & discovered your thoughts on my “bad attitude” & my “toxic behavior.” Come on, Edie, you’re the one who fashions my text messages into poems & posts them online for critiques. I love you like the first sip of White Claw / the last toke on a spliff / but without you I’m an unloved TikTok dance / a husked soul with spaghetti arms / open & ready for you / so take me back / the viraless meme that I am. Not nice, Edie. Nor is telling your friends that I’m a “stalker” & a “bad guy” & that you only dated me because you had “nothing else going on.” I only ever wanted to show you how much I cared. But you dismissed me, & I know, Edie, that you have my regular profile blocked. So I am forced to follow you on this fake account. I mask my presence by also following a Sylvia Plath fan account & that Norwegian translator & that anti-Lululemon activist & that MFA program you hope to get into & Lorde & Lana Del Rey & all those other sad girl musicians. I can only hate-scroll through my feed, which remains fairly static (why do you only post once or twice a month?), a dozen times a day. Even so, this reply is curated just for you. Sell the bracelet for scrap, for the weight of the gold. You’ll need the money for Sarah Lawrence, if you get in. So sure, send in your portfolio of toxic-ex poems. Let them reject you. Let them see the good in me. & then maybe you will too. Until then, we’re not over. Not even close. You still speak to me through your posts, the artfully arranged snaps of your notebook next to a cup of hot coffee, the glimpses of your poems, your writing that brings us together.


About the Author

Christopher Linforth's latest book is The Distortions (Orison Books, 2022).


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