P”Gaslighter: Lit” © Emily Fortney



The Gaslighter
sends a text
A single line

Hi. How u doin these days?

And because I’ve deleted
his name and number I don’t know
for sure it’s him

Maybe it’s some other
random soul also hoping
for a light

I keep my response vague
one that wouldn’t betray my not knowing
for sure but really

Even though I never set his number to memory
the u and it’s brevity give him away
My generation doesn’t usually write this way

That’s gd. Just sayin hi

(then the) Gotta ask… (comes)

And my careful creeps in and deposits itself first
in my left ovary where pain always resides
before it’s uncomfortable belly spread

I know there’s gas before it sparks this time
before he gets accusatory with dialogues he’s had
in the land of Not Based In Reality but not with me

Six messages it takes

And wow does it take All the good it was given
Feeding itself on diversion and denial
Withholding comprehension so as not to understand

and busying the brain
with things I know I never (he said I) said

Have to have the last word eh?

This time
for the first time
I leave his words refusing to be lit


Emily Fortney is an educator, singer, writer, photographer and activist living in Southwestern, Ontario. Her work as an educator has centered around restorative practices and developing curriculum through an anti-bias, decolonizing framework. Emily’s writing also seeks to incorporate these lenses and explores living in right relationship with nature, other and self.