I dreamt last night I was in
a ribbon-stitched competition
& though its details are lost
to the murky meanderings
of sleep, the image of her cheering
the loudest in the crowd
stayed with me
through the morning.
I’m tempted by stubborn clocks
that tick on lemon-kissed walls
to believe the world changes
in the sunlight, but no matter the hour
I hear her over the noise
calling me home.
That light switch always gives
a little shock
when I touch it in this dry January air
& still every time
it surprises me like a goldfish
circling the same water, losing its place
without a thought.
She sends a similar spark that lifts me
into the air
with that smile that could never
& I’m jolted into jagged lines
of unexpected experiences once again lost
without a worry.
We approach the future as we do
this deep fog: hopeful but still
watching for shit between steps
in the still sleeping field You suggest
we walk towards the sun but I plan
on a long journey & don’t want to walk
in circles Instead we hold the light
dear as it clears the mist ahead
The field melts into a path of thistle-
kissed sun-dipped clarity
so we skip clean-shoed through the day.
I lost myself in discovery,
the crushing essence of a
I haven’t worn
since the funeral. I’ve practiced
the craft of nodding
small talk since, though
it fits as well as
that old jacket. Some things
I have no trouble throwing
out, while others cling
like a dryer sheet
waiting to tumble from a shift sleeve.
The program from
the memorial is still
in the inside breast pocket & I’m still
a pall bearer struggling
to carry the load while
the powder blue jacket hides in the back
but not forgotten.
There’s something arch
in my muse, the way
she can arrest me
with a particular turn of her lip
like a wind-spattered umbrella twists
so rain tastes my face.
She playfully wipes me
dry & I have to laugh
at our dewy inside joke.
If we made an Eiffel Tower
out of lemon pulp and limbs
would the neighbors jeer from moss-green door frames
or merely envy the taste? Would you offer
to the unarmed crowd
even if they couldn’t put their finger on it?
Or should we visit the Louvre
in picture books while we curl
up on the sofa
wrapped in a blanket
& each other
coffee raining on the table.
I envy crows who hold grudges
against scared straw men —
with black medicine —
while you marvel at tarot cards
boasting of teamwork.
Before we say goodnight
on the feathered farce
outside, you remind me
life is an interpretation
with every deal.
A year is just a product
of its age, days adding up
until finally a new year springs
to life, breathing in hope
among waves of salty beach
air. The sun screams its ascent
as it climbs out of the ocean,
lifting our spirits like
champagne glasses toasting
absent lights. Up and down
is a binary distinction I’m resolved
to overcome, like gravity
or monotony I must rise above.
I see clearly this year beginning
differently than last — your eyes
floating in my dreams,
fragrant in my breath.
And after forever the gin-flavored breeze
remains like a tonic
caught in the wind & blown miles
bath water salty from the tide
coming in, then out
collapses on us both and stars
like beer-battered fish leap into Milky Way sauces.
In all the universe I chose my way
but did not see her coming
to make a new world of ocean-swept
the smell of coffee fireworks pop
an alarm shatters the dark alerting
us to tides turning abruptly
the first sound
I’ve understood now sings in unison always.
She casually showed me her crystal ball
but said the future is uncertain —
creamy mist running in disorganized patterns
to places out of focus. Sunlight filters through
translucent spirits beyond the horizon,
a glassy wind-swept silence on my elbow
& she wearing a medium t-shirt.
Every soul glitters in a palpable pattern
if you have the patience to look. She can look
past my sins, beyond this body & its base
elements down to the light that shines loud
patterns beckon the future come in its own time.
She traces my luster in the globe, my aura reflected
in her witch’s eye, tomorrow’s haze evaporated.
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