Look, I am shook from my shallows, ten thousand leagues deep – my heartbeats were war- ships; you drowned the whole fleet, but I'll hold on to hope like sand holds on to heat that for all of my troubles, you could love me, at least.
and invited the moon into the room – a stranger, she stole through the night to our chambers, a bevy of damsels to carry her candles. She lit up our eyes; she lit up our skin like our skin was the sky.
Then she loaned me her robe and she kissed me goodbye.
They think my nerves are cold steel; they call me unnn-real, like I'm a big deal; they think I'm all fight, that I've gained deeper in- sight. Like I'm alright. Like I don't cry. And all I did was not die.
Next time I wake from sleep for keeps – from deepest, darkest slumber – I may come back a little bird to visit in the summer; my quetzal pomp, green feathered grace, singing through my hunger – when I am gone, I may come back your pretty bird, a wonder.
It was a sturdy ship that I went down in, and it felt like rebirth when I drowned and emerged from the tumbling surf to wring out my hair and tie a knot in my skirt. (I learned to breathe by nearly drowning.)
I called to you softly when I was young; my voice bounced off the bricks of a suburban slum, sauntered down side streets and stirred piles of leaves, then snagged in the branches till the wind tore it free
to collapse at your window like a weary songbird that had been singing for decades and finally, you heard.
You asked about it later, in the best way you knew how as I was tracing dreamy cursive on your neck; I sighed across your skin just like a cool front blowing in and said – *It doesn't even matter. I forget.
At night we were a fresco painted by an astronaut, our messy bed the chapel of a voyeuristic God, where glory worked with hurried hands in frenzied fellowship and hallelujah was a sigh that quivered on my lips, then we nodded off like angels of our own apocalypse; it was made-up love, when we woke up, the dreamed up stuff of kids.
I have written you one hundred and eighty one poems about stars and blackberries fat as thumbs, and your hands and sweet plums, because that's what I do: word play, cabaret – but if these are just myths I perpetuate because I'm a perpetual liar, believe me anyway.
My mother washed potatoes one by one while my father went carousing with his favorite gun; I dragged sticks through dusty gravel while I watched it all unravel, wondering what to make of such an **** thing as love.
Your absence has drawn fractions on my belly. It's bisected the axis of my heart; it has split me apart. I am charts and statistics. I'm percents. You were sharp. So was I; when I left, I cut those halves into fourths. I left one in your bed, now I'm three quarters saved and one quarter spent.
This is what he promised me: August, and berries that fell right into my hands; he promised me handstands. He promised me bees, he said the nights would smell sweet and wet flower petals would stick to my toes. He said I'd just know. He promised me sparrows, and switchgrass that crept past the hem of my skirt. He promised me clean dirt, and hard work. He promised an August that I'd always remember, then stayed 'til November.
A last incinerating kiss, then the exponential loss of bliss– take my heart and divide by you; leave me with poems and warm anecdotes that I'll store away like Marie Curie's notes: still hot, still toxic, still true.
For the same reasons that I stay hungry for dinner and tired for bed, I keep my heart a little lonely for poetry; that way, I can imagine your weathered hands against my pale thighs as clinging starfish – my fingernails, bleached cockleshells washed up on the barely evening beach of your back.
No Garden, but this stand of pines, and no serpents just this side of night, but a sleepy, startled porcupine; I'll offer you some apple wine. You'll kiss me in the fading light; I'll love you without shame this time.
If time is a convincing illusion, then as I am writing this, you are reading it; you are remembering me years after we have spoken last, and I am noticing you for the first time.
I'm a young woman waking up in an apartment in Albany, New York, realizing that I am finally broken enough to fix, and an East Boston moppet in ***** pink overalls, riding Big Wheels through the sprinklers with a boy named John Henry.
You're delivering newspapers on a cold New Hampshire morning. I am falling asleep wondering if you could possibly love me. You are saying that you do. You are stardust, and I am long gone.
Please, when you come, bring me news of the world – not foreign wars or epic storms or the Queen's upcoming Jubilee, but things that only you can tell – like this morning smelled like mulch and mud; the slate was wet, and you thought of me.
A gentle tempest stormed my lawn; it stood me still and then was gone. Anchored, awestruck in my place by beauty and euphoric grace, I thought of Spinoza's God, infinity's precise design, the perfect math of Everything – our love, a quotient of Divine.
Between us, tangled wilds, and through that, a deep ravine – each standing on a mossy bank with river in between; I say “It's early morning and the world is wet and green – I'd like nothing any better than for you to bathe with me. I'll meet you in the middle, like I've met you in my dreams, and either you'll get ***** or I'll finally come clean.”
My precious sweet potato pie, my darling little damselfly, your life is still a lullaby, and I love you more than life so I kiss chubby fingers pinched in play, make root beer floats, chase bees away, but even I might break your heart someday.
To your can't, I say won't, and that's fine, love. That's fine. To your try, I say don't, and that's fine, love. That's fine. To each failed attempt, I say wasted ambition. To your look of confusion, I say you wouldn't listen. To your heartfelt regret, I say no need, it's fine. I felt loved for a while and that's mine, love. That's mine.