to be the breeze against your breath (Yasmina Jaksic)

she was so good at everything. she was the kind of person made to live. the kind of girl for which the breeze parted as not to disturb her moussed mary-kate waves. the boys she liked always liked her back, tenfold, even the ones in a higher grade. right now it is taylor, the blonde buzzcut skateboarding senior she met in summer school, the boy with lynx eyes. they are uncomfortably well-suited, like watching a sitcom about high schoolers rather than sitting across from them in the windowless cafeteria as he slumps down against her shoulder and she holds the remains of a ribwich between her thumb and index finger and when she puts it in her mouth her fingers rim the lining of her lips and the saliva adds an extra shift to her silver nails. there’s numbness spreading in my stomach like a shot of iced spiders, spreading and webbing. too perfect to be real, fox-toothed, kohl-eyed, bleached streaks framing her poreless face. why is it that the way she interacts with the world moves me so?

in the bathroom she dips across the sink, back arched in a half-swan dive. two pairs of cement eyes, a star tattoo on her left thigh, peaking through the tear in her low-hanging jeans. she swipes mac’s “angel” gloss across her lips, turning them milky pink. sitting on the sink ledge just beside her she passes me the tube. i swipe the sticky vanilla-scented lacquer on myself, still staring at her staring at herself running her ring fingers along the corners of her mouth. “they’re easy to pocket,” she tells me and tells me she will take me to nordstrom later to get me some of my own. 

the greige carpet of her room smells of perma-smoke. even the way she rolls her joints, massaging the paper between the pads of her thumb, middle, and index fingers, in the zebra lamplight of her room, her wet cat-tongue, narrow at the tip, glistening as it lines the edge with precision, feels too removed from my existence. too mystical. in my smoky thick-thoughts i astral-project into the keys beneath her fingers of her purple blackberry, the button of her southpole jeans pressing into the satin skin so far below her naval. 

when taylor comes she sits between his legs, her on the floor, him on the bed. his baggy khakis balloon behind her. i don’t want to be her but i want to be inside her skin, to walk around in a world that loves me. to be someone i love. 


Yasmina Jaksic is a writer and PhD candidate at York University in Toronto. She has previously won the Alice Munro Short Story Award, the Kenneth G. Mills Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award. Her poetry can be found in Grain, Sine Theta, and A Velvet Giant.


image: “I will meet you where the sky meets the sea:” Gunisha Aggarwal is an emerging Indian writer and translator. She enjoys experimenting with different mediums of expression. Find her on Twitter @gunishaagg.