The Place that Shall Not Be Named
Laryssa Wirstiuk

When I announced I’d like to write nonfiction
about surviving my thirtieth Jersey winter,
the public’s response was a New York Times
Best Sellers List. Seasonal Affective Disorder
doesn’t earn superlatives. Rather, it spends
money on lamps (ten-thousand LUX), remedies
like week-long romps in Los Angeles, time in bed
while swaddled in thermal apparel, not having sex.
The cold’s wingspan would create new distances
between us. I’d celebrate Yule with or without you
studying in a room of your own. I’d beg you to tattoo
an amaryllis on my arm as a reminder to absorb
sunlight through my limbs. After all, you’re source
rather than reason. With some determination,
anyone could learn to accept what keeps her
from living. In my elevator, my neighbor is sweating.
“I like the heat,” I tell him, watching him suffer.
He responds by naming the place you forbade
me from saying. I want to move a finger to his lips.
Trust me: this is an improvement over previous lives
on an elevated train in The Place That Shall Not Be
Named while you sat in another car. You couldn’t bear
to watch me mourn the end of summer solstice, not yet
arrived. I cried not because the passengers were wearing
wool, not because the June wind required a hood,
but because I couldn’t join you. I’ve never seen the moon
look as absolute as the night I said I needed to go
to the lake to experience lunar newness. Would you
join me despite your protests? Will you ever admit
the reflection of it on the still water was more important
than duty to another? I took photos to show future lovers
that I had considered summer as something I could leave.
Anytime you want, you’re welcome to join me.

Laryssa Wirstiuk lives in New Jersey with her mini dachshund, Charlotte Moo. Laryssa’s collection of short stories, The Prescribed Burn, won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been published in Gargoyle Magazine, Word Riot, Barely South Review, and Up the Staircase Quarterly.