Ginger

Featured

is the multimedia expansion of Ginger's static zine, and features the work of one contributor each week. 

Jane Serenska

Whatsapp is a social media platform

I snap all the clips off the ends of all my pens
as I talk to her on Skype.
"You make me nervous," I say.
"Why?"
"I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"I’m glad I know you."
She says this sounds harsh, final,
like the end of something.  
That is not it at all,
that is not what I meant at all.

I've bitten away all the skin
from the middle of my lips
and now I'm not sure
where my mouth begins and
my lips end.

"Detail-oriented
is a nice way of saying
"neurotic."

"What's up?" I ask her
on the internet messaging app, WhatsApp.
"What's up?  You called me?"
"Lol," she says,
"Butt dial."

She goes to bed at my four pm and
leaves me with my night time.
My thumbs, bloodied but clear of hangnails,
hover centimeters below the reminder,
"Last seen 4:26 pm.”
I try to think of something nice to say
for her to wake up to.
I think of her sleeping peacefully and I feel calm.

The swirl of short hairs on the back of my head,
all equally unsure in which direction they should grow,
must be the shore of clinical depression.
I can feel it sloshing through my head
filling up the sharp dents my cheekbones make
in the air around me.

My glasses slide down my nose to escape it.
Blackheads form where freckles were.
Tears leap to their deaths.
I push my mouth to her face,
or my thumbs to my screen,
hoping to pour some of this onto her.

"Romantic"
is a nice way of saying
"codependent tendencies."

If you can't love yourself,
be in a long-distance relationship.

If you can't love yourself,
find someone who loves you and
is asleep for most of your day.

If you can't love yourself,
only look at your body in nudes.
It makes no difference whether you are naked
or the bottoms of your trousers rolled,
selfies are remnants of you.

I visit her in London
and speak to my therapist on the phone.
She calls me through WhatsApp
and we talk about x-rays and Michelangelo.
I tell her I’ve called my therapist.
and she says she feels defensive
when someone reads her horoscope.

I hold her in a breakwater I made with my arms
and smooth her curly hair with my long fingers.
She places her hand on my chest and I think
I am a person.
Then I think I should write that down.
I wonder if I should stop kissing her
and write a love song.
I decide not to, thinking that writing a love song
would be like sending her a message in a bottle
as she stands next to me on the beach.
Instead I try to memorize
what I want to remember
about why I want to write a love song.
I dream of broken pens.
In the morning, women’s voices wake me.

She smokes out of the window
of our Airbnb in Paris,
drinking coffee and taking toast.
I take pictures of her and ask
if I can post one on Instagram
“No,” she says, “I look awful.”

Last night she cried when I told her
I don't feel comfortable in my body.
She said she feels sad for me,
she wishes she could do something to help.
It's easier to love my writing and my nudes,
I think but don't say.
WhatsApp is a social media platform
where I am curated by visions and revisions.
I only use mirrors to reflect the screen of my phone
as I take selfies with the back camera.
I only date people from Tinder.

“I love you”
is a nice way of saying,
“Do you love me?”

I tried to file my nails to short sharp points
but ended up clipping them.
She took me to get my hair cut
and I got it buzzed.
“You don't know how beautiful you are,”
is her way of saying,
“I know you are hurting.”

I watch the hot water of her shower
make a long red path down her body.
Maybe I always feel like I should kiss her more,
not just out of love for her,
but because I cannot be satisfied
by any amount of kisses
I lap from her lips.
But I know I will never kiss her
so much that she cannot speak
because I would rather drown
than never hear her voice.

Jane Serenska was nominated for Issue #7 of Ginger Zine by Alexis Cantu, a pivotal member of her friend group and a staggeringly talented musician.  Jane started Spread Your Own Gossip, a reading series in which self-identifying women tell stories about themselves, in March 2016.  Since then, the series has hosted five readings across Chicago and, with the help of collaborator, Alison Ogunmokun, is planning many more in 2017.  When she's not organizing a reading, Jane makes coffee, plays bass, and enjoys conflict resolution. @sweetbbjane

This work first appeared in Issue #7: Winter 2017.