Advice For Josh On The Last Girl He’ll Break Up With
by Kathleen Latham
She will talk too much or too little about all the wrong things.
She will flirt with your friends or text you too much or act as if
she’s only there because she’s doing you a favor.
She’ll hate Springsteen. Or the Red Sox. She won’t like your cat.
She’ll be pretty and nice but mind-numbingly boring.
Or she’ll be reckless and scary but good in bed, like an out-of-control
carnival ride—all careening lights and screaming brakes and fun
while it lasts until she hurts you or you hurt her or you both give up
at the same time.
Or worse—trust me, worse—she will be brilliant and witty and
far better looking than you.
She’ll love your mom. And run marathons.
She’ll feed the homeless and teach Sunday school and donate half
her income to UNICEF and half her hair to Locks of Love.
She’ll be a supermodel, pediatric brain surgeon.
But still—still—you will lie beside her late at night and wonder
what is wrong with you, wonder why it’s not enough, why
she’s not enough, and you will stare at your ceiling with the
amazing food she has cooked in your stomach or the carnival ride
sex coursing through your veins and you will numbly follow
the changing of the traffic light that shines through your window
red to green to yellow to red—stop go slow, stop go slow—
and you’ll think about settling, only you won’t call it that, you
won’t use that word, because she is pretty and kind or a thundering
roller coaster and you are waiting to see where it takes you
and settling is so arrogant, right, like what makes you such a catch,
and the light will keep changing and your doubt will keep growing
and you’ll have the inescapable feeling that you’re running out
of time or asking all the wrong questions and just when the weight
of uncertainty threatens to crush you…I want you to stop.
Stop worrying and wondering and analyzing and guessing.
Because one day, just around the corner, in your same but different life,
I promise you, promise you, you will meet the woman who comes next.
And in that nearly now, you will lie in your bed watching her sleep—
her breath a whisper on your cheek—and your mind will be
quiet and your heart will be full and the only thing the traffic light
outside your window will keep track of is your silent prayer to time:
Stop. Go Slow.
Wait for her. Wait for that.
Kathleen Latham is a native Californian who’s been living in the Boston area long enough to have her loyalties questioned. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Constellations, Eunoia Review, Eclectica Magazine, and Tipton Poetry Journal. Unfortunately, her productivity is directly related to the amount of time her cat spends on her keyboard. She can be found online at KathleenLatham.com.