Portrait: Woodbury, Indiana
It’s 10 am and we are unraveling crimson thread across the Midwest. We leave tread
marks on clay roads. Litter receipt paper on gas station floors to mark our passing. Talk
about all the missing we’ll be doing, all the yearning. When we close our eyes, the sky
rips open, sounds like bones breaking.
1 pm and we sit cross-legged in cloth seats. Pass the time by searching white clouds for a
sign of something divine—something to remind us most twelve-hour stretches of our
lives happen quickly.
9 pm, when the sky is dead and black and the moon is only an outstretched hand away,
we read Nacogdoches on an exit sign. We can’t pronounce the syllables so we rename it
relief. We name it Justin Bieber on repeat and Taco Bell wrappers and half-scribbled
poems on the back of knuckles. We name it only two hundred miles from home.
2 am, cicadas stick against fogged headlights. We unfold ourselves and stretch our skin,
collapse under fluorescent light. Dishes are piled next to the sink, but the mat by the door
whispers welcome home, so we close heavy eyes and say thank you, it’s been so long,
What Happens to Dealership Cars During a Hurricane
We never thought much about drowning,
the silence of it all, the way we could float
down the Brazos, slip into the Gulf. So when
we got the call, we flooded the bathtub
with water and sank ourselves in it,
tested how long we could hold our breath.
In that tub I thought to write an ode on your back,
scrape it into your skin with my nails—
an ode to the first day of fall
in Michigan, how Texas is too far away to feel it.
An ode to the Greek pizza we ate with our fists,
the skinny sweet potatoes we sliced,
seasoned with oil and pepper.
I thought to write for the orgasms
you gave me every time you went out of town,
an ode to your dick and balls in my mouth, the fish hooks
you threaded through my lips.
I thought to make your skin a sacrifice
to the storm, an ode to the people
outside in kayaks
paddling in the street.
I wrote on the curve of your spine
an ode for the help us
in the back of your throat. The ones you trapped
in the tissue, cradled like children, tucked in
during the eye of the storm.
Aubade with the Red Door
A lock click means breath settling
into rhythm, making room
in the white sheets, turning over
the corners where you will lay
We’ve become the keepers of old habits,
of goose bumped skin, calloused fingers.
We have sex with our mouths closed.
You are chainsaw and scissor and gas stove.
I am leather and every strain of flower
that is dead by fall.
When the porch light burns out, you fix it
without me asking.
I cannot go back to before this was us.
I cannot go back to before the cranberry juice
and gas station vodka, before
the yellow toothbrush stains on my bathroom sink.
I cannot go back to before the electronic music,
the broken black light I swept from the cracks
of the floor.
I cannot go back
to before the five months apart,
the foreign concrete beneath our feet,
or to before I learned the thread between
your fingers and mine
cannot stretch across the Atlantic