brown corduroy button-ups, a bunch of sunflowers tied with red and white string, casting lines but not getting any back, an odd dream, pillow-printed skin, cigarette requests, fulfilling them but not telling, summer apartments, pantry shelves, hazelnuts, red wine, Taco Tuesdays, sleeping in, sleeping it off, sleeping the days away, ceiling fans, the fine line between receiving mixed signals and over analyzing everything, wanting to collapse that distinction, coping anyway, broken cups, broken blinds, broken hearts, a tiny tuft of laundry lint, borrowed tee shirts, mostly empty movie theaters, the cool cement leaf smell of literally every garage ever, the first frost, morning fog, panic attacks, bathtubs, bath-time, bathwater, a book terming Seneca’s suicide “a decision to open his veins.”
your red dotted sandals
were on the grass
(i saw them before i saw you)
and i smiled because that
bright childish pattern is exactly my type
i settled down a few yards away
(spread books and papers around me
to convince myself of worth)
then i looked up
is when i saw you,
all square jaw and big eyes and
i haven’t seen you in three months
(but maybe you’ve seen me?
i’m not sure)
I try not to look, to play it cool,
but i can’t help to watch you laughing,
braiding your hair, shimmering confidence
in the hot sun
i imagine you kissing her lips
knotting your fingers in her hair
and i feel sad
but that’s okay
it won’t happen anymore
but i still want to forget
so i lock in on work
(prostitution in india, one hell of a bore)
and then i see feet.
i look up and it’s you
i’ve never heard your voice before now
and the tone sounds different than i imagined
a little lower and pitchy
you ask me to dinner
you have some things you need to say
i’m shocked and nervous
is this reconciliation?
so i say yes
tell you i hold no ill will
that it was brave for you to come over
you nod your head
(the braids move forward and back)
and blink at me with those wide eyes
you seem confused, teetering on some edge
looking back now,
i think you were seething
i’m not so sure i want to go to dinner anymore.
write a list, write a poem, go for a run, cook something, play bananagrams, do readings, call your girlfriend, finish your lab, check Facebook, tag your girlfriend in strange memes, text her till you miss her, feel it hurt, make a to-do list, do something on that to-do list, masturbate, file your taxes, read one of those fiction books on the bedside table, ride your bike, make your bed, listen to love songs, do the laundry, clean the tub, take down the old christmas decorations, watch a show, organize your desk, call your siblings, call your mom, ask for pictures of the cat, daydream about summer, about a family.
i dug myself a well
just to be alone down here
at the bottom.
ignoring light and sound
i sit, knees tucked,
on the damp leaves and crumpled cigarettes,
the dirt and the vine.
i will not look for answers.
i will not metabolize,
and i will not consume.
she calls for me above,
up there in the blue forever,
but i take a drag
and pull my legs closer to my chest.
i rest my forehead on
the cool, wet stone.
i know i need to leave this place,
but right now
i can’t handle anything,
anything at all,
so i smoke and smoke till
and i forget, fall asleep.
she’s got this clipped Boston accent,
warm brown eyes, and
freckles that you want to collect
and tuck into your shirt pocket, then
pat twice as a reminder.
she processes words in a swirly-brain current
that tides neatly with yours,
sudden silent trout
swimming through your favorite books and
a quick wit,
an eyebrow raise,
a pull at the corner of the left side of her mouth,
a laugh and eye contact,
shaking heads down low
this girl’s electric
It’s like when you walk into a room you’ve been in before
but now everything smells of lilac
and everything is bright and everything is brilliantly blue
like everything is a little bit better less bitter than before.
But you don’t know how and you don’t know why. So you wait.
Until she walks in. And you hear her voice and you know, you just know.
Her eyes are the blue of the room, you could go jump right into them. She has the kindest teeth, the smallest hands, and the cheeks that chirp hello. Her personality moves through you in the sharpest way, but god, she’s so soft, you yearn to hold her.
And in that moment you feel that little speck you may have felt once or twice before, settle into your soul and course through your veins and make you struggle to breathe.
You can see it –
holding her hand, her bags, her waist, her jacket when she’s tying her shoe.
Kissing her nose in the morning
and in the night.
Having her children, raising them, feeding them, finding them, losing them.
Growing old. Telling her no, sweetie, you don’t need face lift. No sweetie, don’t dye your hair.
No sweetie, I’m fine. We’re fine. Fate exists, heaven is real.
You shake her hand and introduce yourself, choking on the scent of lilacs,
blinded by the blue.
i miss you
like i miss blackberry vines on fences.
the pull and pluck and sting of thorn,
pink-black juice and blood.
i miss you
like i miss fish tanks.
the swirl of water and flipwink of fins,
how their tiny ‘oh’ mouths open and shut, open and shut
i miss you
like i miss the mountains in summer.
cool mornings, fog drifts,
dove song, and the smell of hot leaves.
i miss you
like i miss the Bahamas.
you and me and white linen curtains.
coffee in rocking chairs, gently kissing in the dark.
i miss you
like i miss unbroken bones.
no ache, no discomfort, no shame, no aloneness:
a body righteous, repaired.
i miss you
like this, like that, like all the above.
this distance rends me in ways I can barely understand.
it hurts, and i hate it.
will you come back, my love,
and be as kind and careful as the day we first met?
will you bring passion and stories and fire in your hands?
i know that you will, and i’ll do the same:
that way we’ll fuse our lives together again.
i’m spinning but it just feels righter and righter the more i’m around you… like you taking my elbow as we walk down the street, studying together, holding hands, saying phrases at the exact same time, laughing.
it simultaneously glues my feet to the ground and fires me to the moon.
you’re wonderful, that’s all.
your red suede shoes
the soles made of yew,
little twisting vines round elf feet.
spiral up, half a calf
that you saw stumbling.
lend it your hands
cut the neck and sip the offering.
it’s yours after all.
feel the breath,
and lead it
her and garages and maple leaves and sweaters and coats and buttons and shoes and dates to that italian place. hand holding and birds nesting and ponds growing and then shrinking. grocery stores and old boots and windowsills and paint buckets. ice on the tip of your nose and the constant overwhelming heat of your being and bands of freckles and a surprise tattoo. sunsets and summer camps and sleeping bags. listening to my favorite song as i walk across campus in white light and strutting a little. aquariums and sailboats and eddying currents and blue crabs and claw pops and beach chairs and hot dogs. babysitters and soccer games and snowcones and county fairs. words and wings and good books and poetry and magnets and old posters. keys hung up on a wall and a dish for coins and talking about politics and energy and people and colors and health scares. warm chapstick and teacups and zipping up dresses. sand in the sheets and flip flops and acorns and yardwork. weird euro-trips and train rides and bus coins and cafes on rivers and knowing the bartender. the idea of stars and gravity and cosmic evolution and Darwin’s evolution and the smallness of us and the bigness of our dreams and again, the smallness of us and and the bigness of time. sunscreen and backpacks and stacks of papers and dustpans. rainstorms and puddles and fitting under one umbrella. kissing and baking and writing and smiling and meeting parents and brothers. riverbeds and going to the ballet and ice cream cones and a few drinks too many. lisping voices and one wandering eye. tights and bathrooms and baths and bathwater. goosebumps and old shoes and dust floating past bright windows. making sandwiches and bicycle riding and waterpark swimming and bottled sodas and movie theaters and park benches. sometimes getting tired of each other but always missing you after just a few thinks and finding new freckles and hands under sheets and cold march mornings. the perfect stillness of waking up next to you. all is quiet in our house.