Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

not because you have to

BY EMILY O'NEILL

case of lemons / apothecary of stolen

sips / passed to me across the counter

while I swung the gooseneck kettle wide

 

& watched the grinds wince larger / Colonel

Taylor in a brown medicine bottle / fernet

your friends brought back from Italy

 

reward for watching their dog / you, pouring

off a sip for me / shaking egg whites

until they mimicked latte foam

 

little bitters hearts / grapefruit skins

rolled rose / fried pickles when I wanted to cry

but didn’t / my hands, brown with morning

 

I rode my bike because I had to / called me hiding

mood hair / as if every change were voluntary

how many twenty dollar bills did you need broken

 

how many times did I refuse / meeting your eye / didn’t we

first talk when it was snowing / day you arrived early

& I was alone / singing a city I don’t know

 

you & all little gifts begin there / favorite gray shark

cup I can’t find / the nose, a memory organ / poked

through the surface of pomegranate tea

 

coffee matched with thimble daiquiris / bread really about

the air trapped inside / flavor of time & place / I kept you

awake / every time you asked, free of charge



Emily O'Neill is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her debut collection, Pelican, is the inaugural winner of YesYes Books' Pamet River Prize for women and nonbinary writers and the winner of the 2016 Devil's Kitchen Reading Series. She is the author of three chapbooks: Celeris (Fog Machine), You Can't Pick Your Genre (Jellyfish Highway), and Make a Fist & Tongue the Knuckles (Nostrovia! Press). She teaches writing and tends bar in Boston, MA.