The day he left we sat barefoot in the dirt, leaning against an orange
blanket, waiting. He dug his hand under my shirt, resting it
beneath my bra strap. He said he loved me. Or he called me beautiful.
They were the same to him.
I remember him smelling like laundry
detergent, his feet making lozenge
shapes in the dirt, and the tears,
his or mine, that crept into our kisses.
I loved listening to him breathe —
wheeze silence wheeze.
We would drink red wine or play scrabble or read Anne Sexton
poetry. Always Sexton — the only poet we could agree on.
“Maybe we would like each other’s poems,” I said,
my naked foot stroking his leg.
“No. You would see too much in mine, and
yours, yours, I’m afraid I would hate — cheery rainbow pieces,”
I saw his chapbook at a friend’s house today.
He wrote this love poem:
“The most important part, I guess
is that I love you –
the vulnerable way you can be at night
when you are falling asleep
and we hold each other
for the first time that day.
I’m tired of hoping
that you will become someone
new to me the following morning.
Someone worldly, or good for me.”
I tried not to see too much but my name was the title.
That night I wrote him a bedtime story:
“Maybe when you fall asleep tonight,
you can dream about yourself,
broken repeatedly then put back together —
a dream that includes everything you’ve
done to me. Maybe feeling what I feel
can change you.
Or maybe, just maybe, you can slip into
your sleep and stay there.”
Cheery rainbow pieces indeed.
inspired by totally optional prompts