Artwork © Eric N. Peterson


god complex

good morning.
I am queer, and I know everything.
and though I know everything, I would like you to tell me
if you kissed me in the subway station because you were drunk
or because you meant it.

it’s a Wednesday night.
I am going home alone,
and I want her to say that she meant it,
but she has already left for the night.
I’m just standing in another subway station,
tired in my bones,
imagining that she’s here and has something witty to reply.
it’s July, and I feel like I am probably almost-having a heat stroke,
but I ache to make a grand romantic gesture
and show up to her apartment for no fucking reason at all

I don’t.
but upon my imagined arrival, I say
“did you kiss me in the subway station because you were drunk or because you
          meant it?”
and in this imaginary, she says,
“does it matter?”

it does, I think.

we are sitting in the light booth
and all i can think is “fuck, you are so beautiful”
because I am thinking about kissing her.
we have said nothing to each other since then,
and this is a poem i have written before but it has never been true
so I brush my teeth twice in the morning
and as I am brushing my teeth, it matters that I do not know if it matters
I do not know if she will kiss me again
and I do not know if I want to know that

and now I am asking “was I drunk, then?”
did I make it up?
if I made it up, how honestly?

and is it true now?

is it allowed to be?

what does truth ask?

I brush my teeth a third time
I am imagining everything we could say to each other

so we are sitting in the light booth
and it’s not even the fact that she’s really fucking beautiful that gets me
but rather the fact that i feel a strange trauma of never having been apologized
          to in my life
and there we are
and we are talking about our shared vanities
and she makes a joke about my god complex
which is right, but i almost tell her that it’s god with a lowercase g
a near-q, almost
this lowercase g, god complex,
lowercase g, god,
lowercase g, girl, kissing me on the bench in the subway station,
god, I am leaning against the turnstile,
girl, my hands in her hair,
god, I am breathing so deep
eons deep

and did I make it up?

and did I make this up?

and do you know I too was watching our reflections in the window at the party,
but I didn’t have to
because I have seen myself in this glory before
this game of musically mutually moving chairs
telling me that she loves me,
she loves me not, she loves me,
she loves me not, she loves me,
her lips are at my neck for just a second but it is a very long second, and

“did you mean it?” I ask

I know she knows what I mean by this

though I do not know

what I mean is
“I do not know anything”

and am I praying?
who is praying?
is it really me?

when the love poem doesn’t know if it has love in it at all,
what then?
what now?
where to?
when’s your stop?
when are we stopping?
are we stopping?
why is the train stopping?
why is it dark?
why is your hand so close to mine?

will you kiss me again?
and if the lights stay off, will you really, really, really, really mean it this time?


Lillian Grace Lippold (they/them) is a queer interdisciplinary artist from SoCal, currently residing in NYC. Their work can be found in Sterling Clack Clack, Bryant Literary Review, Santa Ana River Review, Coffee People Zine, Adolescent Content, Clementine Zine, Quillkeepers Press, LUPERCALIA. i am the love letter (2020, Tablo Self-Publishing), ‘Portraiture (Elite Theatre Company).

Eric N. Peterson is from Atlanta, Ga. He’s been drawing cartoons all his life. He leans towards the absurd, imaginative, and the surreal, as that’s where all the flavor is.