I get his text in the middle of the day
between ignoring looming paper deadlines
and watching my best friend rant. It’s the
first sign of life from him in over a month
and the messages reads a simple “Sup.”
S—soft and hissing, ice creaking in a glacier.
U—low in the tongue, a half melted Popsicle stick.
P—a pop of the lips, bubbles breaking under ice.
I don’t know how to respond, because what do you say
to someone who professes adoration yet
Forgets your birthday? A smiley face?
A rant, a screaming match boiling over
with tear-stained vowels and bitten consonants?
Maybe once upon a time ago, when we loved
with white-hot passion. Maybe once in another life
when the distance between us didn’t trigger an
ice age. But that’s not us anymore, we are
promised to this ice, and we blow annual kisses
over the icebergs growing between us
snowflakes buzzing with electronic tones.
I wonder for half a moment to just not reply
or to break the ice and break us apart.
He follows up with a “How are you today”.
No questions needed because in the end
my reply is always the same: “I’m fine”.
Devyn Hamberlin is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside.