i tried again–

i needed more poetry.

 

but now

i’m not sorry i haven’t answered you as i’m not certain

you would believe me if i told you

there was no poetry in that afternoon.

 

instead i found it

on a side street in jp,

alone in the dark in some part of the city

i’ve never seen before.

 

instead i found it

in the pouring rain,

the steep streets turned to rivers,

the raindrops shattering the orange of the streetlights to pieces.

 

later,

as I peel off my wet clothes in the quiet of my room

i marvel

at the shape of my life

 

how strange,

how heavy,

how full.

for emily

it’s been three years without you.

the bookmark they gave out at your funeral

is still hanging up in my room.

i look at it every day.

 

what i dream of is an art of balance.

 

my dreams are off-kilter these days,

these years,

this lifetime.

wonky the way life

ultimately always is.

 

wish you were still a part of it.

this girl

whose rightful place is here beside me–

who’s no, literally, that smart,

but like, people see the

name of the high school and just

throw out the application

 

what is there to say?

what is there to do but smile until

you can leave the room and let the tears fall,

make some worksheets that feel,

if not pointless then

a styrofoam sword when

the world calls for steel–

and try to get enough sleep.

32oz. mason jar

i didn’t see it happen,

only heard the crash,

only saw,

walking up the driveway,

your rage sparkling like shattered glass

in the morning air,

your blood red anger

sharp in the dappled sunlight.

 

 

i got the keys and drove you to the E.R. where

they stitched up your hand,

good as new.

there’s too much, too much, too much, love.

for a couple hundred bucks

we agreed to play house that fall—

in truth, it was the house of my dreams;

to the clash of age of adz

i touched the walls and pinched myself,

unbelieving.

well i have known you, for just a little while,

but i feel i’ve known you, i feel i’ve seen you,

since the earth was split in fives.

 

twenty minutes into “impossible soul” and

i taste the first corn chowder and biscuits i

made from scratch,

the feel of those wooden bowls as I scrubbed them in the slate farmhouse sink as

you restarted the album from the beginning.

i feel the uneven pages of that copy of the poisonwood bible

i stole when they came back from vacation early

and i wasn’t quite finished.

i stuffed it in their mailbox months later with an apology

scrawled on the back of a receipt.

 

it’s taken six years for me to once again be able to

make it all the way through to the last lines:

i gotta tell you boy, we made such a mess

boy, we made such a mess

boy, we made such a mess together

 

sad, true

sometimes when i talk you

can’t be bothered to look up from your screen;

i want to draw an orange check on your paper, too.

 

it feels a little like trying to stop the inevitable;

i just keep thinking about shteyngart’s lament,

super sad,

true.