One Too Many

Best of the Boards
Katelyn Kiley

Went up one too many flights of stairs this evening,
opened the door and realized my apartment was a floor below—
thinking too much, again—it always happens like that.
Today, because as I climbed the stairs, it smelled like marijuana—
2100 bucks a month, you’d think this kind of thing could be avoided,
but if my upstairs neighbors are any indication,
it can’t. I went up once to ask about the sudden slam
that shook the ceiling—wrestling, they said—bong on the coffee table,
the smell unmistakable—if I could get rid of them, I would.

College boys are useless, I know because you are one
and I’m starting to think I know you better than I know myself.
I don’t even know what I’m trying to say here, except
getting out of your car feels like crying, like that one exhale
before the inhale then the sob—I don’t know why—only minutes
ago your hand was in my hair and your forehead against mine
with those brown eyes looking and those lips saying—well,
the same thing they always say—of course I love you—and I always believe
in the way one believes in something that is sure to end,
like peering over the end a cliff, our love. The worst part:
as easily as I can see a drop like a California coastline,
also I can see a horizon expanding into forever: the morning paper,
kisses on the forehead before heading off to work, Christmas cookies,
anniversary presents, babies with your dark hair and my full lips
and one of our noses—it doesn’t matter whose—all of this seems possible
as a pile of crumpled tissues and my own T-shirts to sleep in.

Probably you have smoked marijuana in a stairwell, this is what I think
as I round the corner past the door that leads to my floor, and keep
climbing higher, not knowing—this discontent, until I walk out and see
I will never get home this way—so I laugh, and turn, retrace my steps
back down—it still smells like marijuana, I still wonder who did it—
but it’s late and that information, like statistics on the evening news,
either means something or nothing at all—it’s late
and you love me which shouldn’t stop me from sleeping.

E-mail: kmk8d[at]