CANBURY GARDENS AS A PROSE POEM DOMINATED BY THE WORD ‘LIKE’

by Em Power

Contains strong language

I smirk at the middle-aged lady walking by, her eyes glinting like: “Yeah, gals, I’m with you.”   The sky is so blue my eyes hurt. There’s a big sun, like: your feet are gonna burn inside your shoes. I tell Ann and Sanjula that’s what they get for wearing leather boots on a day like this. Talia wades in the river, ankle deep, and I choose not to mention the needles. Like my mother says: tetanus adds character. We all have to turn and shout: “You can’t piss in that bush, the fishermen will see you,” and Charlotte spends like, an entire hour finding a public toilet. A homeless guy asks if we have any papers and Finn gives him like a whole pack of rizla. For a few minutes we’re so convinced this white woman in sunglasses is going to call the police on us, like being young and sitting is a crime. I tell Ceana: “Put your hands in my hair. It’s so soft. Feel it.” We mix our fruit boba with rosé like isn’t this the funniest shit ever!? Sanjula keeps eating rocks, like - no, yeah, literal rocks. Ann says it’s like dealing with a toddler. Talia and Elizabeth play a brutal game of footsie. The walk back to the bus station is long and hot. I freeze and ask Charlotte to take photos of me with the bridge-side graffiti reading BENNY. I know no one called Benny. Someone has a pink lighter covered in Sanrio stickers. Lars asks if it still burns - my chest that is - not the sun. Now the sun is setting, and cool. When did it get that way? Like, one minute it’s day and then it’s over. I have to lie face down in the grass ‘cause Elizabeth quotes that Ilya Kaminsky line like: But with whom can you sit in water?  Or maybe I lie face up, towards the sky. Ann tries to embarrass me the night after, says something like: You kept making us read your sappy fucking poems. I cringe a suitable amount, but it’s hard to care. Like, what am I even meant to do – not love everyone? That’s difficult, in times like these.