of my palms tell me so.
Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
at the same time. I think
praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think
staying up and waiting
for paintings to sigh is science. In another dimension this
is exactly what’s happening,
it’s what they write grants about: the chromodynamics
of mournful Whistlers,
the audible sorrow and beta decay of “Old Battersea Bridge.”
I like the idea of different
theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
a Bronx where people talk
like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow
kind, perhaps in the nook
of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled or betrayed
anyone. Here I have
two hands and they are vanishing, the hollow of your back
to rest my cheek against,
your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish.
My hands are webbed
like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed
something in the womb
but couldn’t hang on. One of those other worlds
or a life I felt
passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother’s belly
she had to scream out.
Here when I say “I never want to be without you,”
somewhere else I am saying
“I never want to be without you again.” And when I touch you
in each of the places we meet
in all of the lives we are, it’s with hands that are dying
When I don’t touch you it’s a mistake in any life,
in each place and forever."
The clock towers fall
and the pendulums stop swinging.
Your hands open up
like Pandora’s box.
The world is ending inside
of every dream where
we stop kissing.
I wake up so violently
my hands turn into
across the floor of
You’re gentle in the way you can’t stay,
and all of your ghosts lay their
head down on my chest
until I know what their sadness
You’re not paying attention,
so you never hear it.
(it’s the wind when you open
the door to come home and
forget that I’m there.
it’s when I ask you how your
day was and
answering someone else in your head.
it’s when my heart breaks
and you like the way
when I’m hopeless).
You say that you’re tired
and you’ll hold me right in
but you don’t come through
and my ankles ache
from the weight of all your emptiness.
I hear Achilles turn in his sleep.
He didn’t know it would hurt this way.
He thought the fall was the worst of it,
but it turns out it’s after,
when no one shows up to watch
You’ll never be her.
And you know something? You shouldn’t try to be. When the moon is breaking through your windowpane and breaking through your ribs and breaking into your brain as you picture him kissing her - when the night tastes sour and so do your tears
do not wish your body could curl like a comma and become small like her, do not wish your voice could swell to fill a room like hers does, do not wish for her talents and her charisma, do not wish that you could grow out your hair or take scissors to your rolls or open yourself up and become perfect like her.
He doesn’t love you, but that’s not your fault. Some people don’t fit together. Do not cut yourself to shreds for his benefit. If she is his real puzzle piece, that means your real one is out there too, waiting. And he or she or they will love you with enough force that you will feel the ground shake - and somewhere there will be a person just as jealous of you as you are in this moment. My love, my heart: somewhere, there is a person wishing to be all that you are. They are sitting in a dark room and the light of their soul is quietly extinguishing itself in jealousy.
And I know in this moment this doesn’t matter to you, but know that the trees and the birds and the newborn puppies all still think you’re perfect, know that nature never judged someone for their grades or whether or not a boy kissed them and meant it. And I know - I know - that when people leave, it feels as if the world turned cold, but
my darling, you are not broken. You will remember how to love the night with her danger and fireflies and you will remember how to love your hair with the slight curl that will never straighten and you will remember that this body was a whole ocean undiscovered, that even you are still noticing new freckles and how your veins connect like tree branches.
When you feel whole again, it will not be because you have replaced him with the bitter smoke of another person. It will be at six in the morning when you are standing in the shower and are finally able to take a deep breath and feel a little okay again. It will be when you are sitting in bed with the moon peeking shy through your window, blushing with her white cheeks, and you will tilt your face up to her and say, “I’m sorry, my love, I had forgotten all that you gave me” and even though there will be no great shift or revelation, you will just be alright again.
My love: breathe. Cry until you are hollow and then fill your body with anything but the smell of his sheets."