Roomie by Corinne Alice Nulton

I like to sleep where your bed once sat
Your posters’ tape-stains and sharpie notes
Hooks from dream catchers, writers’ quotes
I swear that spot still has your scent
If I close my eyes, I can pretend
we’re college roommates again

Watching storms come through and pour
into pots aligned on slanted floors
Inch-long winter window seams
cuddled by a blow dryer for heat
A rusted lock, a broken key,
sagging boards, knob-less doors
rail-less staircase, up three floors
plugs that spark, sirens that screech,
mold that snows from higher beams
Shit, the rent’s due once again

Strangers forced into one small space
City views wrapped in spiders’ lace
Hating it, and you, and yet myself
Out of stolen scraps, you made a bookshelf
A plywood bond yet to be undone
That forged our books, our music into one
So often those years we couldn’t make rent
But laughed through favors made, money lent

“Roommate Wanted” taped to crusted—
cracked window, on the ground floor.
And that whole month I had so much room—
Your half of home, an empty, for-rent tomb.
As your parents took your things away,
I clung to traces of you in the space:
Wine stains, bent nails, chipped paint

I have a room now that’s not condemned
And I can finally, fully make the rent.
But I keep the space where your bed would’ve been
Empty. I lay there and imagine
your posters, clutter, and sharpie notes
Hooks holding dream catchers
Post-its of writes’ quotes
And you, only half a room away.

Corinne Alice Nulton lives above a flower shop in Peckville, where she keeps the scattered parts of her brain on post-its and on the dog-eared pages of dollar store notebooks. She had her play “14 Symptoms” produced at the Brick Theater’s Game Play Festival in 2014, and her ten-minute-play “Flesh” was a finalist at the Kennedy Center in 2011. She has had several short stories published in literary magazines such as Cactus Heart and Ellipses .

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