Social Media

by Emma Bolden

If your life is extraordinary enough, the Internet becomes a plot
of land in which you plant the clues that make your lies

grow into truths. A therapist on Instagram says, think
of the thing you would like to do most on most days.

Then do that. On most days I would most like to get back
into bed, I do not tell her or anyone. I try to tell myself

that though my life is not extraordinary, it is enough.
Rainbow prism-cast against the wall. Enough.

Pine stick scenting the artificial Christmas tree. Enough.
I turn the camera on myself. I filter my face into a ghost

and tell myself it looks like myself, or close enough.
I don’t like any of these weathers, especially the ones

that bloom indoors. In the middle of a morning
in the middle of a kitchen in the middle of a microscopic

Alabama town. How death interrogates me.
How death interrupts. How death reminds my hand

that one of the times it uses a spoon to separate
the marshmallows from the rice cereal will be the last time.

That for every rainbow, pine stick, for every Instagram filter
ghosting my face in front of the Christmas tree, there will be

a last time. Time winds its clock in every body, no matter
how extraordinary. Don’t judge yourself for feeling

too much, the therapist says. I look out at the window
and myself in the window looks back at me. What are we

feeling. In the center of a gray sky a flock of gray-tinged geese
V by. Because every beauty will happen for the last time

it is by its nature extraordinary, I try to tell myself.
I know enough not to ask myself what I can believe.

Emma Bolden is the author of House Is an Enigma (Southeast Missouri State UP), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press), and Maleficae (GenPop Press). The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly. Her memoir, The Tiger and the Cage, is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press in 2022.