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by Marshall Gillson


the taco spot was right near where i was working at the time so i got there on foot. leaned against the brick wall and fucked around on my phone while i waited. saw you coming down the block and recognized you from your pictures. it was the first time i saw you stride, really moving quick, huffing, your homegrown new england gait. you probably walked all the way across the bridge.

and i thought oh she cute.

you wanted to sit outside so we did. on the patio. windy. our napkins kept blowing all off the table and we joked about it. the waitress joked about it. brought us our food and we ate fast, the way we always ate together but nervous like a first date supposed to be.

i was burnt out from work. wasnt expecting to give a shit. wasnt expecting to smile but i did. wasnt expecting to laugh but i did. wasnt expecting this to be a cracking seed or a drop of rain or a handful of dry smoking leaves but it was. us planted and waiting for the downpour. or the forest fire. or both, one at a time.

split the check. hugged like our bodies werent familiar yet. not lovers yet. not even friends. barely fated. just two confused people parting, walking away from each other and toward each other at the same time.


Marshall “Gripp” Gillson is a nerd by day and a poet by day also. He has been an active slam poet since 2008, representing six different venues in four different states in national competition. He was a National Poetry Slam finalist as a member of the 2016 House Slam team and placed 15th in the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam, as well as being a member of the winning team at the 2016 Vox Pop slam tournament. His work has been featured by Button Poetry, SlamFind, Everyday Feminism, Maps for Teeth, the depression-themed anthology Light as a Feather, and several self-published chapbooks. In his spare time, he enjoys shuffling awkwardly, hiding from his problems, and writing biographies in the third person.