by Katie Thompson

My fingers fit perfectly in the spaces between his.

At night he would wrap his arms around my shoulders,

I’d lay my leg across his waist. He used to whisper,

voice raspy, eyes closed in a half-sleep;

I want to marry you one day.

Those nightly exhalations filled the balloon of my self-worth.

I remember the Christmas I found him tearing money

out of holiday cards pilfered from mailboxes,

littering the empty season’s greetings and wishes

for happiness on the ground like trash.

Every Christmas without my brother is miserable,

I want everyone else to be miserable, too!

My ears were barraged with the sound

of hundreds of balloons popping.

The boy I fell in love with had been destroyed,

using dirty needles as weaponry against his own soul—

somewhere in the process, his hand began to close.

The hinges of his fingers tightened into a white-knuckled fist.

I wasn’t sure if he was fighting himself or the white dragon,

but it didn’t matter. No room remained for me.

Katie (Karma) Thompson is a Creative Writing major in her last semester at WCCC. Currently unemployed, Katie spends her time warming Starbucks seats and writing horribly depressing poetry and moderately comical fiction. Katie is also learning to play guitar, a decisively more mobile instrument of torture than her piano.