Half a psyche

Free coffee soothes some wounds, but not
all. Like the ones left by you (or, more accurately,
what I thought to be you). And all those times
it was just another trick, just another mirage,
shattered suddenly with the realization that “you”
wasn’t really you, and the “you” I’d believed to be
you was just me, talking to projections of myself and wishing
they were real. Wishing you’d show up for once. Wishing you
would prove you care. Because that’s what they say to me,
when I cry and mope around in the devastation created by
your absence. They say you’re there, lurking somewhere
around the bend—but not in a sinister evil-doer way; just in an
eternal acceptance kind of way. Because you care.

But somehow, though you are fabled to be out there, somewhere,
waiting for me, I’m still sitting alone in a coffee shop with my
free drink of the week, sipping back my tears and deleting another
its-not-you-its-me text. And my friends whisper about my
stability behind closed doors, because my goodness she only
met him maybe twice and he wasn’t even that cute anyway, but they
don’t get that it wasn’t him, it isn’t him that I’m mad at. And my anger
is becoming all-consuming, like a child who cries because the bowl of
jelly bellies she was promised doesn’t really exist after all. Because I feel
like I’ve stumbled upon a little known and hotly contested truth. I know
that it’s really not me.

It’s you.



I came across a woman in the street
“I know everything,” she said.
Her orbic eyes blinked.
“Ask me anything, for I
know everything.”
I asked her who she was
and she cried
for she was wrong.

When I died you puckered your lips, forcing them into a soft, pink little “o” shape because you thought it was what was appropriate. I would have told you that you should know better than to try to fool me with what they deemed appropriate, but I knew you wouldn’t be able to hear me so I didn’t even try. Your eyes tried to fool them like your lips and it worked because no one thought to look into your eyes—only my lifeless ones and your surly mouth.

My funeral was grand, so grand that my mother cried and my sister wailed and I just thought all their tears tasted the same. But I didn’t know what yours tasted like because the ground swallowed me whole before you had the time to work up a sob. I thought the soil was soft, but it soon turned to mud and I tried to scream for you to come let me out but you didn’t come because you don’t listen. I started to cry, regurgitating their tears and passing them off as my own though I needed moisture and the soil was too selfish to share. So when you came a few weeks later, with your conscience yelling and stomping about on your bad shoulder, it was too late.

By then, the soil had won and the tears were all gone

and you wept for a pile of bones.



Christa Rohrbach is a Bay Area native attending Willamette University in Oregon as a creative writing and French double major. Her work can be found in Willamette University’s Chrysalis or online at Outrageous Fortune. Many of her poems are inspired by the daily chaos that is the life of a student, in the hopes that this chaos belongs to somebody else as well.  Questions or comments about her work should be sent to crohrbac@willamette.edu.