Five Years by Erin Jin Mei O’Malley

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Five Years

It took me five years to love
an Elizabeth again.

Five winters and summers
of chapped lips and peeling

suntans. I had to grow myself from the ground
up before I let myself spend my Friday nights watching

movies with your namesakes,
doing the things that were dangerously close

to what we did. I put the span of six states worth
of sky between us to eat a pizza

with Elizabeth Keegan.
I scratched off the songs I knew you

liked from DJ request lists, so I could dance
with Elizabeth Griffin.

Last I knew, you were still in Pennsylvania. Sometimes,
even now, I catch myself watching a tv show or

checking out an outfit you’d like. You probably don’t care
about anything from the mid 2000’s anymore.

You’ve probably moved
to California or half the distance

of California like you said
you would, or maybe you’ve moved to some state

of grace the Elizabeth of Now likes. I keep forgetting
that you’re seasoned with dry skin

and freckles, too. Everything
about you now is newborn.

Last four am, I woke up safety pinned
to Elizabeth Han, the hours of us, Elizabeths and I,

thawing. I unbraided my hand
from hers, wondered

why we don’t describe the dead
as breathless.

Erin Jin Mei O’Malley

Erin Jin Mei O’Malley is a poet who currently lives in Germany. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University, Columbia College at Chicago, and others. She is the Co-Founder of Sooth Swarm Journal and will eventually blog at