Your idea of a vacation
was my definition of
forgetting how we used
to watch each other
fall asleep and walk
downtown when we knew
it would only make us miserable,
the heat was always more
than either of us preferred.
Your vacation has created
an unbreakable and
invisible thread of
separation and I am
beginning to feel that
your hand wouldn’t even
fit in between my fingers
anymore, and this one single
thought ruins me.
we saw the same sunset fall beneath the horizon
and we walked the same gravel path back to our
cars– a beat up nissan sentra and a freshly painted
firebird. we shook hands before driving in opposite
directions to our homes, two separate homes.
I like to lie down on my couch for an hour, before
I retreat to my smallish bedroom and think about
whether or not you really drove home like you said
you were going to do, or if instead you had another
appointment with another friend, or if you got hungry
on your drive home and had to stop at a 24 hour
diner to get your fill of fried potatoes and oily eggs,
or if you turned your car around after you lost sight
of me in your rear view mirror and drove back towards
that gravel path and sat on the bench to wait for the
sun to rise back up in the morning when you knew
I would be sleeping.
We pulled in and you pulled out
and I moved like a wave, ready
to satisfy each of your untimely whims.
in, out, in, out
until I had spread myself so thin
that I was just a flat tray of water molecules;
a whale could have swallowed me whole.
When the sky can’t make its own decisions
and waits for God Almighty to inscribe
on the backs of the clouds how to behave that day,
when the wind shoots straight down,
scared and running from every
heavenly force in the blue,
when every blade of grass stands so straight
their spines snap in two and their insides
slowly slide down the green grooves of fiber,
when the rain turns to ice,
when the ice turns back into rain
and runs into the gutters,
when my hair falls out
and I die an old, old
woman, when, when,
when, when you
are ready, when
you are ready to
I blink my eyes as if my contacts have turned inside out
when really I think I’m just physically blinking back
thoughts of what I should have done today, or said to you,
blinking to erase the past few moments where I thought:
I should have turned the fan off before I left home,
I should have bought more vegetables at the market,
I should have given that homeless woman a dollar,
I should have spent more time with my dog last week.
Physically blink away the guilty thoughts,
and open your eyes to the next hour of
free waking moments, moments of nothing
other than silly poems about everything
you should have done.
Oh, the way you made me feel.
I wanted to press my body against
cement and turn into the streets
we walked on, I wanted to stare
at you so ardently that you might
be able to hear the plea inside
of my lungs, my need for recognition,
just one moment of your time to
validate everything you made me
believe in the past few months.
Your eyes trained me to feel
like the first star you saw
every night, the one that shines,
but not bright enough to waste
a wish on it, so you scan the sky
for a more stellar option while
I suck myself into a black hole
and turn inside out, so maybe
that’s just it, maybe I’ll meet
you when this is all over, after
I’ve relearned how to function as
a compatible human being,
a practical counterpart to your
conversation, a whole person,
instead of two halves trying
desperately to meld themselves
He watched the girl studying by the window. She flipped a page every other second. She couldn’t really be learning anything that way.
He looked down at his own hands. His fingers were calloused, and he didn’t know why. His hands had always been rough and dry. He put his head into his hands and felt the heavy weight he was holding. Was his head heavier than other heads? There was a lot going on inside there, but he also thought at the same exact time that it was pretty empty.
He had a heavy, empty head.
He peered between his fingers. The girl was still rapidly flipping pages. He felt like he was going to throw up, so he put his forehead on the table. This is better, he thought. At least if I throw up in this position, it’ll go straight onto the floor, maybe even under the table. Maybe no one will hear me. Unless I’m really loud. Sometimes you just have to be really loud when you throw up.