I'm not good at being alone.
It makes lungs feel
Don't choke me when you know I'm not well.
Acquainted with this feeling.
It feels like your not
I can't help but hear
Suddenly I start
I have trouble at high altitudes
and I can't run more than a few steps without tiring
I'm a dancer but I gasp for air after
and my mouth tastes of pennies
I will never climb Mt. Everest
or smoke a single cigarette
I will not live in Beijing or own a cat
or be a deep sea diver
the best thing
they will ever do for me
is whisper your name
All I have now – all that is left –
is a handful of mementos that your fingertips lingered on
long ago; magnifying glass, old college notes...
How can that be all of you?
And I was given a sweater, itchy wool.
I never saw you wear it but I am told it was yours and so
like a child with a blanket I clutch at it, desperate for something.
It makes my skin crawl.
At your funeral it was so cold
and my feet were so numb standing in the snow and I thought
“Won’t you be cold there?”
I stepped forward and asked the funeral home director
for a yellow flower please.
I laid it on your coffin and hoped it would at least remind you of warmth.
I am told you are still “with us” and you “live on in our hearts”
If this is true I will lend you my heartbeat
and pump into you some of my blood
and my breath going in and out and in again and again.
My lungs can be strong enough for the both of us
since yours were not even strong enough for you.
white bright linoleum tile
leering up in angled shapes on the floor
is bent over
by the bathroom window,
pouring ink-red medicine
into a plastic cup.
the sky, dark with sleep, is
distorted to my eye
through the frosted pane
looks up at me,
face hung like wet sheets on a line
and hands me the cup
tells me to
go breathe in the dew outside
(his eyes are pooled and ragged)
it will help release your throat
the lights of empty streets, sharp as spines
lie below, rippling like waves on a lake
and above my head,
i watch the pricks of light
as they shimmer in the night
and slide past to hide in the hills
breathe in breathe out breathe in
i am small and silly in
my bare feet and little pajamas
standing on the splintering wooden porch
that hangs on the edge of my house
dad slides opens the glass door behind me
and comes to rub my back in slow circles
and listen with me
to the sound of hills echoing
with the hum
of rumbling semi-trucks
running away into an unfathomed depth,
somewhere i can’t see with my child eyes