i like that you speak softly of me, like those nights on my living room floor, where i take back all the kisses i never gave you on eyelids and cheeks, where i give up the rigidity we mocked, trials of blue flames and rising smoke.
i like that you’re all ivories and mouth bow/tongue arrow, i like that i am still surprised by how small your hand feels in mine, you seemed bigger to me from afar.
i like when we both pause with our eyes locked on each other’s lips, i like when the Insert-Tab-A into Slot-B’s of our bodies work, our legs are a circadian rhythm, you are my pulse.
i like how i love you like the world will end someday and our bodies will be less than dust (dust to dust) but we will be the air swirling around two trees, forever entwined.
i love you like you are my life.
i like that i love you.
I want to remember that the first night I didn’t feel like I was killing myself by picturing my looped demise on a flatscreen in the afterlife of my bedroom in Chicago was the night I drank cheap white wine, and Kelsey told me about Potty Mouth girls, and we laughed at boys who don’t try hard enough, and I wrote something for Patrick and for Jessica, but mostly for myself so I could have my own love letter that I forgot to put down since last October, so there it is in permanence of pen/pencil/paper/keys/memory. Someday I will be thirty and read this poem and wonder what did it, and I will know it was this heart all along.
You were the only one I could stand to see when you blocked my light out, beauty in bed and boy I never broke (just bruised). I never learned the words for “I loved you like I never wanted to be the one you looked back on,”
like “I am the worst in us some nights,”
like “you’ll make me remember too,”
like “getting drunk on you is what did it all along,”
like “we play dead and I am bad but you never blinked,”
like “I wish I could walk away from me,” was a sonnet I penned on this skin in my sleep.
You will never know how sad I was those days, because big emotions don’t come from big words, they come from those tears you shed while I swallowed my nailbeds and glossed over truths pulled from fortune cookies. I am eloquent only in my silence, you are justified in your red rage. I am broken wings set wrong, perpetual bleeding heart of the one son, you are always running in regret.
How could it have gone differently.
I’ve seen pictures of the man who made you, come ’round once a year in your dreamcatcher. Does he know your devil doses, or the dry winter without me? Does he know he left traces of his hands on your hips, or does he fancy himself a phantom? Keep those folded notes I left as bookmarks for the paragraph where we fell in love; you knew each story ended but I don’t remember the moment I was born and breathed on my own so how do I know I’ll feel the last exhale; the first kiss with my first love was a gush of wind and I’ll never be sure if you’re the last. I bought cotton sheets that remind me of how cool my parents’ bed felt in the summer, those silent days as a child when I was boundless and beautiful. All these lines are about different hearts, but I wonder if she thinks every line traces to her body bag. It’s about the girl you turned from neighbor to neglect. I never knew pain could keep you round but you’re ringworm, around the rosie, pockets full of pills and old poetry about your best intentions. If my sister did these things I would say humans are flawed; if you did them I would let you know I’ve walked away from wildfires and flowers. Stay selective and we’ll see. We once shared air.
And I like to sleep alone anyway, always prefered to be cold instead of warm, like my father: my mother sleeps with layers of blankets. He is a literal man and sees me as a figurative. I don’t see where I figure in; so I go back to sleep in the cold.