I suppose there must be something in them,
those tiresome weights, slung heavy as a promise
over her back, to make them a treasure so inseparable.
Tender past kept hidden in her pocket or pantomime heart
nestled snugly in her sleeve. I wondered,
what proof-less secrets lied in its cavernous cradle,
what passioned morning, woeful night, lay lurking
under yellow suntan dresses and laced summer sandals.
Ghosts, probably. Cloaked in bed sheets, memories for eyes,
ghoulish howls softly whispering reminders of I-love-you’s.
I’ll never know, never nerve to hear the wails
that come from unzipping a lockbox
so full and brimming with yesterday.
I need help, she had said.
Defeated, hint of disappointment
muddled with sheer fatigue.
She knows the world doesn’t care.
Did no one see you lugging such a mammoth bag of anesthesia?
Numb today, number tomorrow. What low, that high.
They probably laughed,
the brutes, pointing fingers that have never held a dream.
What mountains did you move? What oceans did you part?
What narrow arms aimed to embrace did you neglect
to come so far? I glance behind her shoulder but saw no craters,
only footprints, and marveled.
Window with a view to fill my lungs,
wet air, dry eyes, smoke and a
heart full of bourbon, sipping
out of a styrofoam cup the way you did.
Old Grandad on deck and jazz on vinyl,
humming bluegrass. Tapping foot. Cast-iron
skillet and some cheese I don’t know the name of.
Its a ritual, reserved for the unusual
moment I feel like missing you,
a maligna of the mind I treat
the way old doctors did insanity.
Summon a memory of the body,
the carnage of love, sapphire wounds;
gilded kisses lost so long ago that glass Summer.
But I don’t like the taste of whiskey any more,
my cigarettes don’t have menthol,
and lyrics sound like people I used to know
but have nothing in common with any more.
Friends lost for no particular reason
other than growing apart as people.
Strangers I shared death with.
Did you think of us as intimates? Do you think yourself as special? Don’t you know my skin is Catholic, letting every-body-in? No, my mild Molotov, you are not the one who got away. You’ve not the eyes or touch worth mentioning and idolized in poetry. I’m sorry my sweet minutiae, but yours is not a love requiring sonnets, or sorry glances at the moon.
What you are is good morning on a Monday at work, a bowl of mints on an office desk, an umbrella for if it rains because it’s cloudy (but then it doesn’t.) You are a nickel I found in my back pocket when I was 10 cents short. A pencil at arm’s reach when I’m on the phone and need a pen. You are the first 15 seconds of every video on YouTube, losing a set of keys when somebody else is home, footprints on the beach near a rising tide, a song I heard and think I kind of really like…but will never actually download.
You are the vague space between laying in bed and falling asleep. You are the 4th, 7th, and 13th time I had sex.
Necessary. But pointless. Mundanely momentous and irrelevant,
you will not be remembered or entirely forgotten.
No song, or place, or prose, will resign me with nostalgia.
You are not a love requiring sonnets.
You are just another thing that happened.