We were selecting just the right place to die. This required extensive travel. We created a spreadsheet to track our emotions.

“Coordinates!” you yelled, then a string of numbers. I jotted them.

At all of the points, I asked the same questions:

Do you still care for me?

How do you feel about my body?

How many other breasts have you thought about besides mine?

Does the wind make you nostalgic for a different time?

How many regrets do you have?

What is the worst thought you’ve ever had about me?

We went on this way for some time. Your answers vacillated depending on the geography. In the northernmost points, you no longer cared for my breasts. In the regions near the equator, regret increased.

Finally we took to Iceland. The place was lousy with tourists in blue water. Their faces hurt the landscape.

I wanted to fill your mouth with rotten shark and you refused. I wanted to ride a horse over black lava lands and you refused.

“I want to see a glacier,” I said. You got a strange automobile and drove us hours up. The narrow roads suggested awful ends.

“You and your damn glaciers,” you muttered. My heart went wild. We were getting close.

The glacier slid into view. Your hands were red knuckling the steering wheel. We weren’t moving anymore, but this hadn’t changed. I got out of the car for the latitude.

The glacier was larger than churches. I became a speck, humbled with my head tilted way up. In the whole of the universe, nothing mattered. The glacier was a new cold god.

You were still in the driver’s seat.

“Get out,” I snapped. “We have to do this right.”

You slugged yourself out of the strange automobile. You screamed “COORDINATES” and I wrote.

“What is the worst thought you’ve ever had about me?” I asked.

The glacier looked down on us eyeless and holy.

“That your insides have been rotting since the day I met you. That you are full of a black gunk that will eat us both alive.”

The pain here was so crippling that I lost the ability to stand. My knees hit the ice. I looked up at the glacier and I was ever-smaller.

“Please take this pain from me,” I cried to the glacier.

My tears froze immediately, my face suddenly iced.

“Please take my rot.”

The glacier didn’t respond. But I did it anyway. I offered my black guts up to the ice. I felt something dark within me crack and break off, as if losing a rib. I could feel the ache floating in my blood.

You stood nearby, saying nothing. I wept until ice masked my cheeks. This is how we found the proper place.

 

 

 

Sarah Rose Etter
is the author of Tongue Party (Caketrain). Her work has appeared in Salt Hill Journal, The Black Warrior Review, and The Collagist. She is a Contributing Editor at The Fanzine and lives in South Philadelphia.
Filed under: Poetry

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