In September's salt-crusted skin
and vermillion-tinged drop cloth,
when the air boiled
with the double-winged helicopters
of the sugar maple, we spent the night
projecting barking dogs and mice
with grins onto your bedroom wall
with our hands. Streetlight fell on us
in stripes of Egyptian blue
through the window--your body a figure four
and mine sneaking a sweetheart's cradle--and even now
in mid-February it's still September.
Let me tell you again about the dream I have where I wake up in a bed across the Atlantic.
The dream where you are settled on my skin, still asleep.
You are all lips and freckles.
In this dream you speak before you wake and you tell me, “hold my hand, hold my hand,” and your voice to me is like god ****** gospel.
When they open, your eyes are not your eyes—they are more like the only navigable sea I’ve ever known, and you’re looking not at me, but past me.
The dream where the air around us thickens and I reach out a fingertip, but when I touch you I go right through you.
Our skins ripple and move in waves as we fade into shades of cerulean that soak into the sheets, disappearing like bathwater.
I would crack it open over the sink.
I would split
first, the stiff, waxy skin
then the inner membrane, papery and white and fleshy
and reveal a thousand rubies, nestled in their pulp.
And as my hands glossed, sticky and scarlet,
I would press my index finger to the center of my tongue
and **** the sharp juice with such ardency
that you would become
the pink in my spit
and the thick in my mouth.
I would take careful notice not to lose a single jewel,
but to fully consume.
I would not mind your seeds
lodged between my molars.
Perhaps I would even keep them there as long as I could
because you are my favorite flavor.
And perhaps after your juice has spilled and painted maps on my arms
and dripped from my elbows,
I would piece the shell back together,
tuck it in your chest behind your ribs, and close you up.
And perhaps then,
when I had licked its walls clean
when I had emptied its insides,
then there would be room for me.
I sweat in my sleep now,
and drench sheets from dreaming
of the three years
when a fourteen and a half hour
time zone difference
was what my every day revolved around.
My tee-shirt clings to
soggy skin that shivers and prickles
and continues to remind me
that I’m waking up without
telling you goodnight.
I jotted this down in about five minutes. Just putting it on here as a zero draft for some feedback. Thanks in advance!
Amber drips from the 60’s-style lamps
on two end tables.
Brassy-orange and bulbous,
they illuminate the tangled tracks.
The light spills onto the floor
like heavy freight abandoning its car.
It spawns the locomotive shadow
cast by my grandmother’s sunken-in couch.
I nestle myself snug between the pillows,
dense and flattened by years of Sundays.
Sundays that bring my father
close to his brother, not a brother at all.
I peer over the edge
and heave a hushed “all aboard.”
Grandma sleeps to unwind
the day’s knot of exhaustion.
Each bone-bleach white fiber frays
from the chemotherapy that robs
her gnarled hands of their strength.
This one-way ticket marks the end of a journey
of a once well-oiled machine.
The exhales of a CSX
spout its peppery breath out in opaque puffs.
I am a conductor, tearing the ticket
of tonight’s traveler.
Rising to my bare feet now,
I sink into the cushion like wet sand.
The train thrusts and in a single bound,
I leap from the ledge and leave my lone passenger.
The cars whir and hum alongside me.
Deafening metallic wind rusts the edge of the rug.
I’m still waiting for her return,
and in denial that it was her last train.
August still catches in my head like that Manhattan melody
when he was my little vial of Novocaine.
when the moon showed her face and we slept on my floor
and our knees and hips and
shoulders—all the hinges of our bodies—washed with
a twilight of mauve and Bordeaux.
And one night he painted me with
two rows of clenched teeth—dipping in and out of white pools of Selene.
I have a bed now that he has left
with sheets that billow on the right side,
with real blankets that aren't hospital blankets.
And he is my little vial of Novocaine
that took a train to states away. And the miles
between have left me with a weight in my chest that I'm sure fell from
his suitcase. I've got
bones made of buildings,
and a metropolitan heart,
and a steady smile
knowing this same moon hangs over him and that borough.
We can close the three-hundred and some odd mile gap
and stand silent for a second with our
brainwashed gazes, glassy and glazed.
I’ll drive five hours to find the boy with the tired eyes—
the boy who made me promise.
It’s for keeps.
We can spread a blanket and I’ll show you
the big and little dippers in the soil sky
(they’re all I know how to find).
We can touch and whisper in a composition of exhales
and our two tongues that hide behind our four lips—
yours that mask the gap I don’t mind,
mine that I bite until purple and bleeding—
will drip with nectar, syrupy and saccharine,
which we will cup in half moon hands.