Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here's Your Shirt Back, Jonathan

Someday, Jonathan,
you will say the nicest things about me.
It is then I will cut my lips
on the chipped coffee mug
I stole from your kitchen sink to remember you.
I will throw it away, relieved.

We ate lunch in the grass,
like other people who eat lunch
in the grass, and I sat with my humor spread out
like a blanket but you only laughed twice,
which is not really enough to say "I love you"
or even, "You might be alright".

As for me, I love you with the power
of a hundred dead horses, covered in flies
which is to say, I am never quite sure
if I love you at all, but lord knows, I try.

One day, Jonathan, I will be gone
and it will mean as much to you
as a penny missing from your pocket,
which is not at all.

Some other day, you will realize
they don't make pennies with real copper anymore.
You will turn your pockets inside-out with regret.
We both know this isn't true

because you lost your heart in the wash
and though we spent months looking for it
under your clothes we only managed
to pick out pieces from the lint in your pockets.

I don't mean all of this as a threat Jonathan.
Perhaps if you unfold it carefully
you will find an apology
hiding in the creases
and your heart rolled up
in the sleeve.


Today I stayed in bed
forever, trying to dream up
trying to dream, up
and woke up to my body
splayed against the carpet.

I dreamt I woke up
to the comforting contours
of your shoulder blades
but when I actually awoke
you were sleeping
in another city,
shoulder blades pressed against the wall.

I added this to my list of disappointments
written on my bed sheets
which I count every night
to help me fall asleep
or to help keep me
from falling asleep,
it's hard to say which.

Last night I dreamt
my brother had died
and I woke up,
my pillow wet
with self-pity.
I don't think
this is what they mean
when they say
"wet dreams"
but this
is what I know.

This all feels so beneath me
like my bed.
Always under my wiry frame
and no matter
how many times I try
kicking off the blankets
and skulking towards the door
I always find myself here
trying to dream myself
out of bed.


"sweet mother I cannot work the loom
I am broken with longing for a boy by slender Aphrodite"

my skin,
smooth as
a worry stone
is not