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Roommate Situation

By Laura Kolb

We buy carnations at the bodega

pale yellow, striped pink, all winter,

on and off. I smoke emergency cigarettes

leaning on a wall at City College

getting over that divorce. You buy

popcorn, but the sublet doesn’t

even have a microwave. We buy beer.

The bodega guy cuts prices,

asks me out, asks you out. There’s

no anonymity in this city, not really.

I say yes then no. I buy milk and ramen.

You say yes but keep changing plans.

We buy a pint of Chunky Monkey

frozen so hard I slice it with a knife.

Eventually we will just have to move,

driven off by gratitude and guilt,

a kind of enormous tenderness. How

sweet after all, how sweet

to mistake these things for love


About the author: Laura Kolb teaches literature at Baruch College in New York. Her poems have appeared in Contrary Magazine and the Columbia Review; she has written prose for Electric Literature and the TLS. She can be found (sporadically) on Twitter as @B_as_in_Boat.

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