Montreal Poetry Magazine –

"leaving you" by Alana Dunlop


Title image shows a time-lapse photo of a city street at night, with bright lights streaking as if in motion.

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Published September 1, 2021

leaving you

by Alana Dunlop
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

we're sitting across from each other,
two bodies,
heads poking up from
either side of the 20 foot table
in the women's change room.
somehow, your legs are touching mine.
more wine.
passive conversation
about accessories,
i bite into toast
and my mouth fills with blood.
your eyelashes start to fall out,
little black butterflies
diving onto your plate.
they look like ground pepper.
i can't pull myself together.
my limbs flop out,
my satin dress starts to tear at the seams.
the buttons fly off your jacket
and into the space
between my breasts.
i keep collecting pieces of you
even when i don't want to.
the table starts to split in two.

the climate changes in the
change room.
your pupils each point north and south.
i can't look in your eyes without
feeling sores in my mouth.
i'm the first to leave–
my sleeve to my lips to
mop up the blood.
i grab my suitcase
and start running.
the farther away,
the longer it'd take to
get back to you.
distance halves our
you didn't really think it would work, did you?
we're both leaving,
picking up our eyelashes from the floor,
the pieces of ourselves
that don’t play well anymore.
it's easier to fight
feelings with space,
with long tables,
gaps between fingertips.
change feels like
flipping a switch and letting
in all the water.

(leaving you feels like

Alana Dunlop is a McGill University student and a self-proclaimed Montrealer (raised in Ontario). Her work has appeared in Open Book Magazine and PACE Magazine. She has written enough poetry to completely fill a studio apartment.

Previously published in Montreal Poetry Magazine:
"eyes" by Alana Dunlop

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