A girl once said (about you) that “D***n will sing in a way that makes me feel like he has his hand in my chest cavity gently caressing my dying heart.” This was some time last week, and I remember stopping and rereading those two short lines over and over – considering stealing part of it as inspiration for another poem I would add to this book. Or maybe as a letter I would send you randomly someday when I’m in my 50’s so you know that I’m still thinking about you from time to time. A way to make it so you could never forget about me, arbitrary letters shoved into a box you keep locked on the bookshelf in your office. A box filled with me.

  • handwritten notes
  • my Will & Testament in glittery bubble letters
  • a hemp bracelet you stole from my jewelry box
  • some flavored lip balm
  • an old pair of my socks
  • Dior perfume
  • dead morning glory
  • magnets from every state we visited
  • a collection of pocket size Ezra Pound
  • five pennies
  • the broken back half of my fractured cusp

How long do you think you’ll keep that box? Do you ever wonder how long those things will represent me, or if I would ever change enough for the remnants to become irrelevant? I hope they don’t. I want to be the same person I’ve always been, but better, more thoughtful, and calmer. I want to be that person but with mellow shoulders that don’t ride up to my ears. I want to be that person but with someone who isn’t you. Even though what is me mostly comes from you. And for now, we are together somewhere along the West Coast.

I fall asleep in a bed of flowers as soon as the clock ignites dusk. I fall asleep in a dim, aureate shade, to the sound of you swimming in a saltwater pool. I fall asleep to the sound of your halcyon chorus pulsating into the bedroom. When I drift off, I imagine cocoa hooves and fields of grain, trusses of impounded gold – stomped. I’m warm. I’m sun. And next to me your skin erupts, baking like aerified bread that’s been kissed by solar flares. The unblemished impact of you feeds the earth. I hear you sing in my sleep. It transfers into my dream – reverberation of tonsils in an F Sharp knocking me off of my horse.

I feel like my body is falling backwards into Florida ocean. A sunbeam and a starfish tattooed to my eyelids, a tacky hotel exactly the same as the next. The bread of your body disappears and now I’m seven years old and tanned with dirty blonde hair, squirting water guns poolside with other children I’ve never seen before. My mom takes a picture of me – the one that you stole, the one in the box, of me in the bathing suit with the tropical flowers. That picture was taken six hours before dusk. Before I fell into the pool wearing my romper. I scream and cry because I’m damp and depressed as my mother tells me to suck it up because I’m not that wet though clearly my clothes are sopping, and water pours down from my fragile body into ample puddles around my feet.

Everything gets dark and no one is paying attention to me. The darker it gets, the browner my skin becomes. I tan like a goddess, mini Artemis taking shots at the moon. There is no sunset, just a mild blue haze, middle-aged men in joggers, and me flopping my feet as I gallop around the pool. Thunder crashed behind me as rain abruptly escapes from the sky – I become distracted and find myself lost in the sand, the downpour solvent and soaking my horse hooves and harvest…

But it’s you, a middle-aged man in joggers, dripping onto the sheets and awaking me with your hand on my chest cavity, gently caressing my dreaming heart.


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