The Boiler

Laura Villareal

If I invited you to love me
I’d tell you I’m a four-way intersection
in a town made for shooting movies
& yes, the traffic light still works.
I’d tell you my burial ground planted a home
& everything I own fits in my tear ducts.
I’d tell you even after long-term collapse
black holes go undetected.
I’d tell you my Netflix queue is trash
because some nights elongate
& I trick myself into thinking
a romcom will bore me to sleep
but I watch the whole damn movie
until, crying, I fall asleep
every. single. time.
I’d tell you I don’t think ideal love
looks anything like a romcom.
I’d tell you most people don’t know
rollie pollies are crustaceans
& ask what else people misidentify.
I’d tell you I’ve gone to museums 52 times this year,
but I only go when I’m lonely.
I’d tell you I’m not always sure
being alone is worse than
allowing someone to splinter me.
I’d tell you I’ve never
seen a relationship that wasn’t barter
or been in one that wasn’t out right robbery,

but vicarious living isn’t enough anymore.

Laura Villareal is from a tiny town in Texas with more cows than people. She earned her MFA from Rutgers University-Newark and is a VONA/Voices alum. Her writing has appeared in Breakwater Review, Apogee, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere.