“Photocopy” by RJ Danvers

When I think of you I am afraid I think of you

Kinder than you were. What about you did I invent?

Remembering you wrong feels like some kind of murder. Remembering you at all feels like I could never kick you out properly. You’re like a housecat, like some kind of mould-

like asbestos in a character property, like a goddamn ghost.

If you came back tomorrow you'd know the key is still in the hollowed out bit of the porch. I don't have a welcome mat to put it under, because that'd be too obvious.

You are still welcome because I want to know how you are doing. This is

what they call morbid curiosity.

We may as well be dead, and this may as well be some kind of afterlife. But I don't know which afterlife and I don't know what that says about the both of us.

Perhaps because we aren't religious. Perhaps because we're still alive. Perhaps this all means less than I think it does.

My dishes and glasses out on the rack tell you I live alone. I ask about you but

I don't know how to stop talking about myself. I want you to know how much better I am than I used to be. But that won't make us friends again.

It won't do anything but remind you why you left if I keep being myself.

Still, I might as well give you this memory of me- all grown up, all grown out.

I can't remember how you knew me. I can't remember if you even actually liked me at all. All I can remember is the glare of the sun in the summer, the endless heat, the woods- in the winter, your bare hands, my pink gloves. I think you might have even been embarrassed by me, but I really don't know. I doubt you remember the gloves.

Finally. I feel the need to say I'm sorry to you.

I don't know what I'm sorry for. You were, I think, my first failure.

My first ex-something. I keep bringing you out of the floorboards to say goodbye.

You haven't seen my floorboards because I've redone my room since you saw it, but this photocopy persists. You are saying something kind in the kind of tone that made me wonder if you meant it. Just because we're not still friends doesn't mean you didn't mean it. Dear photocopy. Did you mean it?

RJ Danvers is a British, queer, and transgender poet that started writing poetry in 2019. Their work is inspired mainly by Richard Siken and their experiences with intersectional queer identity- as w a love for ambiguous metaphors. You can find them at @rjdanvers on Twitter and @r.j.danvers on Instagram.