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February 18, 2023


Matilda Lin Berke

(remixed from GIRLFRIEND, originally published in Forever Mag)


GIRLFRIEND keeps her nails clean. GIRLFRIEND works hard at this, but nobody knows. GIRLFRIEND works hard for the things that she needs.

GIRLFRIEND got off the internet. GIRLFRIEND is an analog girl because GIRLFRIEND doesn’t need to telegraph her life for love. GIRLFRIEND is an artist, a real one. GIRLFRIEND is inscrutable like that.

But GIRLFRIEND is good, which is why the world loves her. GIRLFRIEND is a lot better than me.

GIRLFRIEND says it’s going to be ok. GIRLFRIEND smiles in reassurance. GIRLFRIEND smiles as GIRLFRIEND gets away with it. GIRLFRIEND keeps it a secret because GIRLFRIEND is contained. GIRLFRIEND keeps things inside that will never get out. GIRLFRIEND is an ecosystem, a loop, an encoded conch shell. GIRLFRIEND is GIRLFRIEND refracted in an infinity mirror—

just GIRLFRIEND, GIRLFRIEND all the way down.

GIRLFRIEND cares the perfect amount. GIRLFRIEND cares less than I do. The world is sharp and cruel but no one treats GIRLFRIEND badly, not anymore.

GIRLFRIEND doesn’t need me, so I might as well be gone.

GIRLFRIEND made a playlist. It was shorter than mine. But I looked through the lyrics over and over, hoping this time I might figure it out.