Yesterday someone said to me, “I can’t imagine you looking any other way than you do.”
She said it offhandedly, like it wasn’t a big deal, it was simply a fact and she didn’t expect me to think about it.
But now I can’t figure out if it was one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten or one of the worst insults.
And this is how we danced: our mothers’
white dresses spilling from our feet, late August
turning our hands dark red. And this is how we loved:
a fifth of vodka and an afternoon in the attic, your fingers
sweeping through my hair—my hair a wildfire.
We covered our ears and your father’s tantrum turned
to heartbeats. When our lips touched the day closed
into a coffin. In the museum of the heart
there are two headless people building a burning house.
In case of rain, there was always the shotgun
above the fireplace. Always another hour to kill—only
to beg some god to return the seconds. If not the attic,
the car. If not the car, the dream. If not the boy, his clothes.
If not alive, put down the phone. Because the year
is a distance we’ve traveled in circles. Which is to say:
this is how we danced: alone in sleeping bodies.
Which is to say: this is how we loved: a knife on the tongue
turning into a tongue.