As mist and humidity lathered my car,
you severed your lips
from mine to address the matter
of my shirt button,
third from the top, that popped off
and fell somewhere under the seat.
You said it’s for the best, that shirt
is shriveling on you,
and that I looked ridiculous in that windowpane
shirt, that I always looked ridiculous: sorry.
A fog seeps through my mind whenever I’m browsing
my facebook feed and see that all my friends
liked your pithy statuses, like the one
about the barista at Bacchus who always says Caprese
with a misplaced accent on the third syllable,
like she’s trying to sell the idea that the tacky
Calypso Deep (oceanic expanse
by the Mediterranean) postcard sitting
next to the register is a photo of her childhood
home. Whenever your name is mentioned, time almost
redrafts itself so that you live down the street,
and we still watch movies on my couch. The sky
is always filled with its blue depth charge.
I was helping David clean his attic.
I found a 13 x 30 poster of Picasso’s
Guernica. Dust muddied the figures
and reminded me of the photos
I took of you with the polaroid camera
that had been baking in the sun for so long
every picture had a metallic hue. This time
you’re holding your sunglasses on the arch
of your nose. I worked so hard to get the light
to unravel into a halo around your head.
I’m wearing the coyote tooth necklace
you gave me but you don’t seem to notice.
Not when the sun laid a streak on it. Nor
after you took my picture. I’m a grey blur
standing under a white board representing sky.
I imagine showing those photos to Picasso.
He looks at me and says this needs to stop.
And then there’s when I’m at the subway station
and I hear a voice say Tennessee with a tinge
of your accent. And then you blow
cigarette smoke until it wraps around my neck.
It was All Fucked to Hell Before it Even Fucking Started
After Etheridge Knight
But so what
if we only spent four hours
together between meeting
and him leaving town,
when a moment can grow
in density, similarly to how
the bulb of a street lamp
over the river will seem
to be twenty-five feet long
in its reflection—you just
need the right circumstance.
How many people in the world
were shot, stepped on a landmine,
played romantic music
and contemplated suicide,
walked out of the psych ward,
learned that stitched inside their flesh
was a growing tumor, took drugs
and saw god, or prayed
for some kind of rescue, all while
he was feeling my body
as we kissed on the bar stairwell?
In the heaviest seconds I carry
he walked away. They’re thick
with volcanic heat. Look
at how they crumble.