late at night,
i dream about breaking in and taking back
everything i had to leave behind.
this is not figurative.
your disc drive on which is stored
every memory of my teenage years
an apt metaphor
for all that you took that i wouldn’t get back
no matter how many
windows i smashed or
doors i pried open
while you lay fast asleep in the bed we made.
the way it feels just to be
sitting next to you
we drank three slow beers —
our bartender changed shifts, twice.
i never noticed.
miss, have you
ever had your heart broken?
yeah. a lot.
dang, miss! she said a lot–
yes, I ran.
not only that: I think I
might still be running,
cradling my heart close in my chest,
carrying it far enough away
from anything hard enough
to break it.
without meaning to,
I’d stumbled into thinking
I’d reached the outer edge of beauty until I
into knowing you.
And even if we never see each other again
(which seems likely) —
jesus christ, I’d been living under the dim pretense that
good was good enough.
I rushed in from the street and saw you and
nearly forgot my own name until,
you smiled and said,
as both question and answer:
i’ll just want someone to go to the movies with,
and to make fun of me for caring enough to notice
that i ended that clause with a preposition
but not enough to do anything about it,
someone who will love me for the way
i trained myself to
write my Rs in all caps, always
just to seem cool.
i’ll want to care about
what you ate for breakfast,
or bought on sale at that new place downtown,
or what reddit thread you’re currently
two hundred and eighty-three comments deep into reading (okay,
i’ve never cared about that and that’s probably not going to change).
i’m not tired yet,
of the gamble of romance; of
the seat on the train
across the aisle from poetry; of
the curious, fascinating, strange beast that is
whatever comes before love.
i’m acutely aware of
the presence of a blue ballpoint pen
on the street in front of the house next door.
it’s been there since we moved in.
each time i see it, the question:
should i pick it up?
but then i remember:
it’s the same pen that’s been
left out in the soggy grey tuesdays,
the muggy sundays,
the breezy, humming friday nights and that
it’s my own mind
that remains hopeful, curious, confused
with a start,
that i already know the answer.
i watched as a satellite
carved a lazy path across
the memory of all other nights
spent staring at the stars.
i turned back to find your face lit up by
a moon rising electric above the rooftops,
hanging bright enough
to illuminate our fears,
as big as the sky,
as small as the space between us.
there is a distinct possibility
that i will end up heartbroken at the end of all of this
but it’s too late.
i am already navy blue sad at the thought that we almost never met.