When We Were Together – Colton McLaughlin

drove off road through a forest
searching for the perfect camping spot,
drove a golfball 3000 yards,
drove a tractor trailer,
drove into a river and drowned to death,
drove myself crazy wondering where you go
when you’re not with me.

joined a BDSM club and let them tie me
to a crucifix where I remained for three days,
sought asylum in a bathhouse, where I was welcomed
by monks who anointed my body in patchouli oil
and scrubbed Saint Sebastian from my flesh,
broke the bonds of hydrogen and oxygen and
threw matches into a desert river.

burned the entire book of psalms so that
the smoke would whisper directly into God’s ear,
danced naked in the light of a full moon,
poured my blood, spilled from the skin
of my palm, into our rose garden,
spoke in tongues to the neighbor’s children,
ate only the ashes of incense to purify my esophagus
and intestines.

stopped sleeping because the howling of cats
echoed through my bedroom walls,
stopped going to the bank to cash checks,
stopped reading anything by authors
with A’s in their names,
stopped taking my medications,
stopped driving to anywhere less than ten miles away,
stopped listening to free form jazz.

worked on developing a personality,
put all my childhood toys in the closet,
came out of the closet,
threw the bones of my pet cat in the creek,
swallowed the ground pit of a cherry and lived,
choked on an apple seed and died when a tree
burst forth from abdomen.

lied about my SAT scores,
baked an apple pie every day for six months
all of which are now rotting in my garage,
trapped three rats to feed to the python
that slithers across my front patio on Sundays,
burned an effigy of Margaret Thatcher,
held paper sigils steeped in lavender tea under my tongue
when we kissed.

loaded a shotgun shell with feathers and shot it
into the roof of my mouth, pulling the trigger
with my pinky toe, slaughtered a fox on the altar
of Venus during the Libra harvest moon,
read a homeless veteran’s tarot pro bono,
drank only Arizona green tea diluted with holy water,
learned how to fence as a method of self-protection.

started breakdancing for three days straight
in the streets of Philly and made ten grand doing it,
exorcised an arch-demon from my Pomeranian
poodle’s body, surfed on Bondi Beach,
kicked a shark in the nose while holding a seagull,
befriended a nun dying of Alzheimer’s,
stole a maquette of Saint Mary filled with cocaine.

fractured my spine during a session of lovemaking,
levitated in the middle of the King of Prussia mall,
garnered international fame on Vine,
only charged my phone in a salt circle to ensure
it wouldn’t receive any negative text messages,
woke up to find every mirror in my house shattered,
and lost 14 pounds

and, in the end,
you left me alone.

Colton McLaughlinColton McLaughlin is a recent graduate of Alvernia University, where he served as the senior editor of Zephyrus Magazine, the university’s literary and art journal. He hopes to attend law school after a gap year, and continues writing poems with religious and magical realism influences in his spare time. He spends the rest of his time looking at pictures of dogs on the internet.