07/25/17, 8:10pm

Sure, it was you

who did the thing. It’s a hassle

in some regions more than others, but somehow

it was relatively quick, a trip to L.L. Bean on the way

home; you were going anyway to buy a sleeping bag,

size small. The mouth fit smoothly into your pencil box. Your bike chain is still

an arms lock. It jostled against your groceries

as your legs folded over and under

you swerved around mothers-to-be who muttered

obscenities, misdirected hate being a common side effect

of love. Sure, it was you

who went to the registry, told the mustache

at the front desk: I solemnly swear to use this

only to hunt quail. But you’re from the California coast, where it’s seagulls

who snatch snips of bean burritos.

You left me a letter after I left, quietly, out

at 1am wearing pajamas. But just as one’s trash is another’s

treasure, words twist, feline, as they fall

on different ears. I’m not done shooting. I’ll hide

this gun in a pocket, or a winter

coat lining, perhaps nestled in the middle

of a belt buckle, or maybe in a pill

bottle of my medicine shoebox. I’ll slowly forget. Then

one day, I’ll find it, a surprise time

capsule, and we’ll see then if I’ll cry. But

the plan is a slow sprint. You become a totem pole

on a subway station bench: hair flopped on long

face cradled in palm propped up on

elbow weeping on

a box that is your comfort

object until you send that away,

too. You have finally become a post-

card: even the kid with Beats

across the tracks means something when framed

by train bars. Isn’t the train towards the Bronx

on late nights already an alternate universe? Up

is down and down is: you wish

you never picked that particular

petal of that particular violet. This city

is a museum of public woes. When the scratched

words brush your reddening eyes, nothing can stop

this pole from toppling over, wetting

into your surrogate mother’s sheets

two symmetrical puddles a spinning mind’s

distance apart even though you

had the entire goddamn thing

memorized. You’ve never seen a god-

damn quail in your life.

07/23/17, 10:50pm

Excuse me, but I do believe we have met
before. There is simply something
about the way you walk, talk, move

with your shoulders thrust back
when you step and your neck crooked
forward when you focus. Your curls are ever so

slightly flattened on the side you slept on
this morning, though sometimes it is the back
after you leaned against both of the shitty thin pillows

and the blanket propped under
with a warm bag over your eyes to ease the ache
that is always there. I could never

understand how your eyes never fluttered
shut against your will, as did mine
to initiate our nightly routine

of apologies. Sometimes we both shivered
in cooled air with our insulation squashed
under and our will to change the controls encased

in a pool of wax from the end of your candle
we shared, which is to say, we would miss,
just as when I carried a stack

of poems across a park and they saw
a woman alone, just as when I brought
home a grapefruit torn

in fleshy abundance and tacked it
to the wall, let the juices weep
along the drywall, diluted blood

of my thoughts drowning<
in a cup; sometimes my best wine
sours to acetone, in certain company.

But perhaps then
we have not met, because the individual
I am thinking of has a smile that pulls

plump against flat teeth, eyes that crinkle
like aluminum foil around sandwiches
with far too much mayonnaise

for my liking. I eat pale food
only when in certain company. When alone,
I much prefer a riot of green

with enough salt that a person
like you would gasp
enough that I would season

our portions separately in the future,
back then. We have different tastes,
you and I. I do not thirst

for that same flesh. Kind sir, I do
forever, give you my best. I’ll take
that cake now, please, thank you.

07/23/17, 11:31am

Sprung from your forgotten dreams, it came

in the morning, followed you from crooked bed to quick

turn of the doorknob, the eyes turned to the cool

grain away from the soft groan of his consciousness.

It trickled and pooled against the pads of your toes,

weighted your skin to acquiescing gel

into well-worn grooves. It vaulted

up into your mouth and churned the foam

rancid; you spat it out with tenderness

of habit, just like when you bid him Good

Morning to unsure silence fading back

onto itself. You still share the soap. Will you still

splash your face in the hectic mornings

as he showers, separated by white

muddied curtain and tamed by familiarity?

A tickle breaks long through the mane

of your calf and you wonder how

a drop possibly made it past

your fingers, holding guard at your budding

crows feet. Perhaps it distracted you

with its curiosity, kept you howling into the night

with laughter such that you did not know

that you’d somehow joined the wild dogs.

How sly it must have been. How much crying is too much

for the end of era that began not in the year of the Ox

but in that of Sheep, which Travel China Guide

and not your mother must tell you: the curve

of the ram and the hard corners of the ox

were never meant to groove. Maybe you should have

checked the legend, first, instead of believing

you knew the way more than did the statisticians

that came before you, the old women

of science who flourish of circles

and not infinite lines stretching past stars

you’re worried no one else sees.

This isn’t how you want to be:    mad

as predicted. Somehow they knew to give

you the codebook. Whose fault is this if they knew

you would tear it to shreds, trample it

with your wheels, light it with gas fire

from a shitty stove in a New York City apartment

only to find this: it has followed you into the gentle

illumination of a streetlight in an alley quiet enough

to be deafening though the cars are never too far.

What a blessing these slow moments are, you know

even as your body stings with the salt

on your bites. Nature gives needle and first aid.

You now know how to snip this particular type

of thread, the one that runs though one temple and out

the other, the last one. He will leave first,

as he does, and you will bike these streets

through and straight out. If all goes well,

you will return.

07/23/17, 1:13am

An ode to the handshake that will never happen:

Some shimmy and slap and clap

and twist. Our friendship, it was

never so ebullient. Instead, we slyly felt

for the wenis — the wenis! imagine

that! — and clasped pinkies; we giggled

the closed-mouthed smirks of comrades

on a makeshift raft of logs we’d gathered, tied

together with brown curls, a Bach prelude

our sail. We sailed the world in it for a while.

Sometimes, sunsets were beautiful

when they set our feet aglow, dangling

off wooden decks to disturb the still. Maniac

laughs in downpours were beautiful

because they were hideous. Which is to say,

our best memories are wordless, but not

soundless. To the end, we slapped mosquitos

from the other’s sweet flesh, mine more

than yours, perhaps, but who’s counting?

There’s that trope, because what are we

but nothing more than amalgamation of Tumblr quotes:

nothing gold can stay, or perhaps we just

threw the shiny stuff overboard when

we realized it was copper, just like

when I cut the rope and let the logs drift off, just

like when you let the water wash the music

from my pages. Was that on purpose? Maybe

you couldn’t have known. Maybe we only noticed

because one day we heard the wings of a vulture

catch the breeze. A raft can only stay

afloat for so long. Maybe we thought we could

build a boat; you were never Jewish and I

never Christian enough to believe so much

as in an ark. Tragedy chimes clear at the end

of aspiration. Did I stop taking out the trash

or did you stop throwing the rottings in?

It’s hard to say who jumped ship

first, or when. It matters only that we finally did

it together, the only fitting way. We bump

mosquito bites and grimace together

at the prickle. Someplace far away, we hold

each other’s hands so that we do not touch

the flame. It burns for three days before it fades

to a shadow of melatonin and then to nothing

at all; we forget that it ever itched.