By: Morgan Florsheim

I borrow my roommate’s pants the day he comes over: soft and green, the corduroy nearly worn through in some places. I pair them with my favorite yellow shirt, resemble an overgrown daffodil, listen to Mitski croon through my headphones while my hands prune over dishes in the sink. I call you, to see you again, so I can win and this can finally end, she sings. You say ‘hello’ and I lose.

I hear the doorbell ring and let him inside. We do not hug. I offer him tea, herbal, no need to add caffeine to the unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. We sip slowly and the feeling grows like an earthen thing, tangled and self-propagating, distinctly alive.

I get an impulse and before I know it the words come tumbling out of me. He does not feel the same, I know this before he responds. Still, I am relieved. Better out than in, they were making me sick.

I think about Rhamnus cathartica, a plant named for its powerful fruits, for its ability to induce catharsis. Blackbirds spill their guts in my mind’s eye. Blackbirds, claws deep in shiny black berries, beak deep in some fleshy fruit purgatory. Blackbirds ensnared by a thorny sex appeal. I’d grow spines, too, if I could.

The aftermath: I lie to myself, turn my beak skyward, ignore the stench of the words still dripping from my lips. The aftermath: we lay together on my bed, all limbs and berry juice.

Morgan Florsheim is an environmental educator, writer, and overthinker based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Her proudest accomplishment remains her first place finish in a city-wide free-throw contest in the fifth grade, but if you want to read more of her writing you can find it in Hobart and The College Hill Independent.