Excerpts from In the Away Time by Kristen Nelson – The Feminist Wire

Excerpts from In the Away Time by Kristen Nelson



You called me She instead of You. “Where is she going now?” is the first question you ever asked me. You were standing on a porch next to the last She who you broke. I remember looking up at you over my shoulder and smiling. I was going skinny-dipping.

F joked that if ever there was your gravestone, it would read: More Soon.


I thought: how lovely.




You threw me away.

But here I am. Here I am. But here I am. But her I am. Her I am. But her I am. But here I am. But here I am. But here I am. But I. But I. But I. But I exist. But I am still waiting. You threw me away. But I. Here I am. Here, I exist.



I measure time from the last time I touched you:

8 months and 12 days

or 367,913 minutes

or 22,074,780 seconds

or 70% of a year.



Even after all of this, if you wanted me again, if you wanted to be mine again, I would be yours. I would not ask any questions. I would not make any demands. I would try so hard not to have needs. You could have all of the needs, and I could just need you. I could be the tiniest of parasites in your gills, or a tiny fish that grooms you. I would groom you fish. You are a fish and I your tiny grooming fish. We are not in a tank; we are in the ocean and you are fierce with your teeth.




In the days before I bleed the pain is almost unbearable. I do not bleed with the full moon anymore. This is what happens when two women spend time together. Your body took over my body and my body is in sync with your body and my body is no longer in sync with the moon and you are not the moon and you are not here and you are an absent thing. I am in sync with an absent thing, and this is your fault.

I wonder if you saw me today, would you touch my breasts? They look great today. You have always liked my breasts. I have been putting them on display for you, for when you are there to look at them. You would not walk away from breasts like these.

The birds in my mother’s yard never stop chirping—not even at night. She is selling her house.  Last night I combed the hair of all my My Little Pony unicorns.  I once was a child. I once did not love. I once was young.  I once did not love a girl. I once did not know you. I once did not hurt. I once lived in my mother’s house, and she took care of everything. I once did not dress myself. I once did not have free will. I once was told what to eat. I once went to school. I once thought boys were dreamy. I once did not know you. I once did not want you. I once did not hurt.



A long time ago, you wrote to me that you had arrived. You wrote:

I want to know that when things get choppy that you won’t go away.

All of these things that I expect from you, I expect from myself.

I exist. I have not gone away. One of us keeps her promises.




I look so hard to see Venus crossing the sun. I do not have those fancy glasses. My eyes may be burnt. Even if I cannot see it, it is still there—a tiny dot defying all of that light.



kristenKristen Elissa Nelson is the author of Write, Dad (Unthinkable Creatures Chapbook Press, 2012). She has published creative work in The Feminist WireThe Volta, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Tarpaulin Sky Journal, Dinosaur Bees, Quarter After Eight, Spiral Orb, Glitter Tongue, The Dictionary Project, Trickhouse, In Posse Review, Cranky, and Everyday Genius, among others. She is a founder and the Executive Director of Casa Libre en la Solana, a non-profit writing center in Tucson, Arizona; a production editor for Tarpaulin Sky Press; and an editor forTrickhouse. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. She has taught writing at Pima Community College, Naropa University Summer Writing Program, University of Arizona Poetry Center, Central Schools Project, and STEP Expedition Program.