Waiting to Pee, I Invent My Future By Emma Bernstein

Waiting to Pee, I Invent My Future | Emma Bernstein

At a gas station between Ashland and Redding, 
I sit godlike on the curb in salvo jeans and gather 
chips of orange paint under a sliver of firs and blank 
sky, my mouth an empty cup trembling for a life 
I could have if I asked for it. The highway rumbling
like an easy metaphor, and me, twenty and full 
of cheap chocolate, thinking I can bear anything
as long as it is temporary, so maybe I will drive trucks 
until I am tired of driving trucks or bluff 
my way into some job involving horses. I learned to run
from my mother. I can love anything as long
as it is temporary, even this gas station which peels
and crumbles in my hands, and if a cold wind ever
comes screeching across my exposed nerves 
like doubt, I can always zip my coat up 
to my throat, bury my hands in my pockets,
and walk south until the feeling melts
like cheap chocolate in the newborn sun. 

About the Author:

Emma Bernstein is a poet who lives in upstate New York and can be found most days wandering through the snow with her headphones on. She has been published in Marginalia Review, Spires Intercollegiate Literary Magazine, Kitsch Magazine, and Black Heart Magazine, and won the Dorothy Sugarman Poetry Prize and Robert Chasen Memorial Prize for poetry in 2020.