Once upon a Wednesday at 2pm

By chance I saw you,
standing across from Union Square.
I knew it was you from the nape of your neck,
the one I memorized as it retreated from view
all loose hairs and flush red.
I wonder
if it remembers the imprint of my lips,
heat-seeking,
mistaking your warm for warmth.
I wonder if you remember still,
Me,
tracing constellations in the freckles on your cheeks,
as if your face was somehow a road map to the stars.
How silly was I to think
I could make a holy place of a boy who forgets,
to have and to own are not the same?

April 12, Summer 2013

We used to be silly
thinking our love could outlast the summer,
milling
about thrift stores
making homes of tea shops and
cozying up in our bedroom corner
hoping these threadbare blankets would keep us warm
against the cold that set in
unseasonably early.
We were silly
hurling words as if they would dissipate
in open space
and not slowly chafe
at our sensitive parts,
thinking an open palm meant only give when
an open palm also spells want
and we were wont
to fall apart
young and lost and always searching
but never seeing
ourselves.

Autumn

Waiting for you, who sent my heart into frenzied bloom,
Boy
with clumsy hands—you had no green thumb—
Uproot this parched flesh,
make it full again.

The Matter of Us

What is the matter of us

but a smattering

of sweet nothings,

exchanged as love notes

tucked between pillows

to open again at morning’s hellos

sent spilling

into our windows

like a fine white wine.

What are we made of

if not infinities,

the hourglass bind of dust and bone,

the impossible time between dusk and dawn.

Icarus

You are heat seeker

boy

with snuffing lips moth-drawn to flames,

Soot eater,

Try to bury yourself in warmth but succeed only

in swallowing all heat

and light.

You want the sun in this skin,

this unbearable light to bend to breath,

your extinguished breath

absorbing all

You forget

the sea is lined with ash,

this bright that crumbles bone

to dust.

Your parched throat mistook me for kindling

But what good is flame to a hearth

filled only

with ashes.

Poetry Stash

There is a jar in my bedroom.

It sits well-sunned beneath a window, rests next to an empty wire birdcage. It is filled to the brim with receipts, pastry bags, sticky notes, old homework assignments, napkins. Each spare piece of paper scribbled on in my clumsy hand, folded up and tucked away like love notes from suitors past.

I’ve been stashing poetry in this jar for a little over a year. Cracking it open I’ve found some gems, some laughable lines, some warm moments, and some painful memories. It’s like opening a time capsule and seeing an older draft of myself preserved there. So much has happened in that time. I moved, started a new job, started a relationship, saw that relationship run its course, and dealt with the unpredictable nature of my illness and all its ups and downs. Reading over the poetry I wrote in that time was a strange, yet cathartic experience I haven’t found the right words to describe.

I suppose it’s an exercise I’ll continue. In some ways it’s the equivalent to keeping a journal or diary (although less frequent), which I’ve never managed to devote the time to. (I do have some uncompleted journals I started as a teenager which are beyond cringe-worthy, so maybe that’s for the best.)

So now I have an empty jar by the window. Who knows what sweet nothings will fill it yet and what another year has in store for me. I look forward to it.

-M