The first time you spent the night I surprised myself. I made lasagna. And at a quarter to nine I turned to you and said, “hey, you don’t really want to go see that movie, do you?”

We went up to my room to research a point of grammar. You settled onto my bed and I sat
at my desk and we looked at each other. I crossed my hands on my lap and time stood teetering on the head of a pin. Words had never been invented.

Somehow it came to be that I was on the bed too and we were kissing like children who had just discovered joy in their soft mouths. At three I invited you to stay. That night I drifted through layers of lucidity while circling sleep. Your face so close to mine startled me more than once.

In the morning I made you coffee with steamed milk and sugar. I tried to stay breezy. After you left I stretched out on the couch in the muted afternoon light as though I had a touch of the flu. I stared at my toes peaking from the end of the blanket. I couldn’t think about anything. I didn’t know how to feel. It was like someone had died. Only whoever it was, I never really liked her and had been waiting a long time for her to go.



Joelle Renstrom is currently in the MFA program for creative writing at the University of British Columbia, with a focus in short fiction, poetry and a combination of the two. Her work has been published in the Allegheny Review, Sycamore Review, Adirondack Review and Friction Magazine. A chapbook of her poetry was published by the University of Arkansas press. Her interests include the color orange, cheese, chapstick, electronica, beer, dysfunction, patterns and freaks.