Learning to linger
By Liliana Greyf
That moment when you have to go but want to stay—so you decide you really don’t have to go at all.
When the waiter asks, eyebrows raised, if you’d like the check say no. It’s true, you’ve eaten so many pastries and the bit below your bellybutton has begun to droop but it’s in a girl-like sort of way, you think, so today you deserve a treat. You deserve to buy yourself a bunch of yellow roses, like the ones Tanya bought for your birthday because she couldn’t remember the English word for sunflowers. But because the flower shop is far, and because it is warm here, say no and order a coffee with cinnamon and milk. Or cinnamon milk with no coffee. Back home they don’t pour foam into swans or hearts, and the mugs certainly aren’t as clean. Plus the barista’s face is getting familiar enough that it’s become appropriate for you to think about what your theoretical kids would look like. Or maybe a dachshund will lumber in with a beautiful person on its leash and who could miss that? Perhaps you should move into this café, because there is enough room on this bench for you to stretch your legs. You can always undo the top button of your jeans and breathe.
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
This piece was written, unsurprisingly, in a coffee shop. I lingered longer than I would normally have to write this poem, which is about the lingering itself.
Liliana Greyf is a native New Yorker. Her favorite things include small plants, short stories, mint tea and the bagel store across the street from her house. She is passionate about the use of the word "girl."