Partly Because of Your Love for Yogurt
title taken from “Having a Coke with You” by Frank O’Hara
it was the way you stood in the dark kitchen long after
the oven had already cooled, slurping
just out of date yogurt but also because the first
time we talked, you listened, swaying me gently
in constant commas shifting slightly
(while everyone else played poker for crisps)
and then slight squiggles in your seat until I noticed
and you stepped out to the toilet (and came back)
because you weren’t finished bothering me yet.
partly because you grumbled at most things, claiming your wrinkles
were real and not the guise of 26 staring into future with fear
and hope (the kind of thing I would call bravery)
the kind of thing you would dismiss
in favour of straight lines on blueprints
and thick ham sandwiches, ever hungry (how did it fit into your frame?)
partly because the day I finally packed my broken purple suitcase
I wondered if you understood how many things rubberstripped
wheels propel, and you watched me stop to take a portrait of a slug
and without any malicious comment, you held out your hand to show
how small a thing this was, as if every girl saying goodbye spends
the last of her time one knee against the earth, digging.
which is to say what a gift you are (if only for a moment)
and I’m glad you waited even after the bus left (that little wave)
and I should have said this but didn’t.
The most beautiful disappointment:
a second winter kills all freshly
formed buds with snow frosting
a future now never to come.
It is too early to be called evening. the neighbors
grill fat slabs of meat and the scent
wafts over the fence. an owl cries.
Does he know he should
be resting from the hunt, should
wrapped around some tree with his children?
his catch worth it?
Is letting mine go?
You asked if we would always be friends
True, we are unwinding:
red to blues to grey, stretching
personalities and synapses into new
shapes. But use the same word from addition
to calculous? You know better
than to equate everyone at an office party.
Even after there are more blonde hairs
on the brush than scalp, I will come
again, sit on your porch and speak
of your children. Recognise
the dust and know real roots
are always well-packed. And then we
can fall to language impossible
to teach or forget. The one
which requires no words at all
but might look like dancing
in the grocery store while ABBA plays.