Broken Friendship: Solve 4 Why

by Mel Ruth

Decrease it down to measurable parts: how
many DVD cases fit into a trash bag? (multiply by four

then add a bloodied scrape against soft shins from the rotten
dresser). If I have three half-used
sketchbooks and ten broken pencils, how many ripped

and scratched-out photos of us remain? If I divide
each picture by two, will I find the square root of our years, or

is it only divisible by the moments we gathered like drops of rain on leaking windows? (Toronto, Cabo, Leipzig, Orlando…
to name a few). If i give you a map, an altar

built on wobbly shelves, a duct taped desk chair, and you
give me a sink full of dirty

dishes, a box of matches, a pocket full of chewed
gum, how many years are left? (subtract one for every harsh

word tapped over text, two for every piece of tattered furniture ditched
by dumpsters in haste). And if I give you an empty room, a busted

Honda stuffed to bursting, and a fridge full of expired
food, what would you give me?


Mel Ruth is a poetry PhD student at Georgia State University. Mel has pieces published in Pleiades, New Pages, and more. Mel was a Slice Literary Magazine “Bridging the Gap” Finalist, and their chapbook A Name Among Bone, was a semi-finalist in the 2020 Black River Chapbook Contest. Pronouns are they/them or she/her/hers. Follow them on Twitter @_Mel_Ruth_.

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