"10:90" by Meltem Bijil


We pour shampoo into Norah’s hot tub,

well, not her hot tub, her parents’ hot tub,

but we’re the ones using it, and we want

bubbles. It takes a lot

to overcome the chemical treatments,

but eventually there are bubbles spilling out –

a glass of beer with too much head,

a popped champagne bottle

with the right amount of happiness

behind the cork. We grow white hair. We dress

in translucent wedding gowns and marry

each other. We put on masks. We grow horns.

We laugh. We get tired. Well,

everyone else gets tired. Me, I listen to giggles

receding like the tide, wet feet

slapping the flagstones a little less

with each step. The door opens, the door closes.

I am alone in the bubbles. I gather them to me,

I pile them like a penguin making a nest

on a nature documentary. I think,

maybe, I am beneath an iceberg. I am,

proverbially, mostly unknown. I turn the jets off

and watch the bubbles pop themselves, disappearing

into the air. Glaciers are melting, I think, pretty soon

I will stop being underwater. When I stand,

I am in a wedding dress. The door opens again.

A voice calls my name, tells me to come in. Dance.


Meltem Bijil (she/her) is a Dutch-Turkish university student. She likes swimming and skateboards, and spends more time reading than talking to other people. Her work has previously appeared in Celestite Poetry. You can find her on Twitter @fromtheaxe.

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