SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

The Names of the Planets by Cornelia Channing


I forgot to call that hotel where we stayed in White Sulphur Springs

about your shoes that you’re sure you left under the bed but which I quite remember

you wearing in the lobby of that casino in Nashville the day after. I forgot to

pick up the dog food. I forgot to drink eight glasses of water. I forgot to tell you

that I hate it when you walk in front of me on the sidewalk.

I forgot to stop for gas on the way home from the movie about the fisherman

and ended up on the side of the highway thinking of trout. I forgot the address

of our old apartment. I forgot the names of the planets. I forgot about that

restaurant we used to go to as kids where our parents would smoke outside

and we stole those peppermint candies from the dish. I forgot the smell of cigarettes

on jackets. I forgot about the time I scared you with my foot under the table.

I forgot how much I like Irish music. I forgot how to behave myself and then remembered.

I forgot to order the dressing on the side at that Greek Diner

we like and the salad got soggy like it does. I forgot the words to that Ashley Simpson

song I used to love. I forgot to tip the guy for cleaning my windshield and

the perfect streak-free shine is blinding. I forgot that I don’t like oysters

unless cooked so long in butter that they resemble coins. I forgot to move the car

when the street sweep came so I got a fat ticket. I forgot about the nice old woman

who used to work at the bookstore on Bay Street that and what happened to her.

I forgot to back up my computer. I forgot to add ¾ cups buttermilk

to the batter. I forgot to cancel my subscription. I forgot to remind you to call

your sister. I forgot about the pasta pizza we ordered from Nike’s on 189th street

and so we fell asleep and when we woke up it was on the front stoop dusted in snow.

I forgot that name you used to call me. I forgot what flavor you asked for so I just got

all of them. I forgot to watch the news. I forgot about global warming and mass incarceration

and abortion referendums and police brutality and institutionalized racism and gun control

for four seconds. I forgot to meditate. I forgot about the fight we had in Maine.

I forgot about Maine. I forgot the feeling of pulling ticks off my ankles.

I forgot holding cold hands in warm armpits. I forgot the sound of crunching gravel

in the driveway when mom comes home from dinner. I forgot to get a flu shot. I forgot what

it felt like to sleep alone in a big bed and not wish for less space. I forgot that I was

a little girl running barefoot through grass for hundreds of years before I met you.

Cornelia Channing is an MFA Candidate in creative writing at Stony Brook University in Southampton, NY. Her work has appeared in The Southampton Review, Public Pool, Method Magazine, and The Stethoscope Press. A chapter of her forthcoming novel will be published in East Magazine next month. She lives in Bridgehampton, NY with her dog, Tucker. 

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