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Aug 2012
for Daniel,
                   and anyone else who cares*

I'm relatively new at this,
if you consider that I've
never done this before.

And this is the only time I'll read this;
this is the cherry
exploding in your mouth,
between your hungry teeth
digging into the skin.

You are a window pane,
but you are not stained glass.
You are less clear than that.

You make less sense than
the spider veins of a kiss imprinted
on a bus window.

You make less sense than kissing a bus window,
arching and aching for that semi-perfect,
seventy percent reflection of yourself
as you float above and before
birds picking at beetles in the grass.

You make more sense than a thousand
kisses on a bus window
the driver has to keep cleaning off because
who really wants to kiss a bus window, anyway?

And still they're there, the oils and grease
immortalized for a few months,
the impression of imagined romance
pressed against the scratched glass on which someone tried to write,
"*******," backwards with a safety pin.

This is my first time reading this,
and the last time I will say it,
though it sounds much better when
the man inside my head so charismatically reads it aloud
to his audience
kind of like a dry comedian would tell a joke.

This is my first time standing before you,
and let me say that sometimes
I might offend you,
preachers, and speakers, and pew sitters;
evangelists and full blooded, God-fearing sinners alike.
And maybe you can forgive me
if I occasionally step on your closed-minded toes
in your sensible shoes.

Or perhaps they aren't so sensible.

And I got a haircut recently--
and here I'm expected to say something profound.
Something that perhaps sounds like,
"I got a haircut recently
while you stood in the bathroom with an electric razor
and shaved ten months of memories from your scalp."

The word makes me think of natives,
and it makes me wonder how long it takes
to collect the bleeding wigs from
the hairless children you left in the street.

That word makes me think of--
and here again I must choose my words carefully,
because the next thing I say will expose myself
poetically and psychologically--
spinal injuries.

All the careless children walking down sidewalks
not thinking of their mothers as they step
on every single crack in the pavement.

But what if everything we were superstitious about
were real?

Would we repave the world every week
so that there would be no chance of breaking
an innocent woman's back through carelessness?
There will be no cracks for thoughtless children
in their sneakers
they are too young to tie on their own.

Or perhaps the world would be covered in grass,
and every day mother would wrap the scarf
tightly about her son's ears and whisper,
"Don't step on any rocks today, my love.
I'm still recovering from last week."

But that's ridiculous.

I suppose it's surprising to me how many words
the man in my head can say while staring at a
Manhattan Morning in black and white
hung on your wall by three thumb tacks.
The lower right corner hangs idly where I took
the fourth one out to make this poem sound better.

There is a solar system in your ceiling,
did you know that, my love?
It is not in the asymmetrically placed
glow in the dark stars you placed at random,
nor is it in that one dolphin that seems to
swim amongst the Saturns and galaxies
that make no sense in context.
It isn't the seahorse, either.

Would you say that the Milky Way is made of wishes?
When I lie next to you in the darkness
uttering soft lullabies, I make wishes to your ceiling
that my voice doesn't crack
and you don't wake up again.
And also that perhaps one of us is wrong about God
and maybe he is out there after all
and mass-delusion doesn't exist.

I still think I'm right, though.

You make less sense than a kiss that means nothing.

But you, my love, you are more than a thousand kisses.
You are more than the thousand words
a picture may be worth.
And if I were better at saying things
maybe I could preserve you in a poem.

But I don't think anyone can.
No one can shape words and pages to your figure,
the fullness of your lips and
the strength of your nose;
the holes in your ears and
the life between your legs.

I got a haircut the other day
and cut twenty months of memories from my scalp.
It feels nice to not remember,
Thoughts on maybe doing a poetry slam one day.
Heather Butler
Written by
Heather Butler
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