I open one eye and peer at you
over the folds of the pillowcase-
you stir slightly
so I drag a hand from beneath the blanket,
slide my fingers into your hair
just to hear the little sound you make
before you find the voice
to accuse me
of being a sleepy sadist.
I hum agreement and slide closer,
propping myself up on one elbow
for a better view of your repose.
Your hair is standing at attention in two triangles
like the ears of the Fennec fox
we saw at the Santa Barbra zoo,
curled against the glass of his enclosure
dozing to the muffled sounds of voyeuristic humans
Your eyes slide shut again
and I run my nails lightly down your chest
you arch into the pressure beautifully.
I’d draw you if it wasn’t so damn early.
Or tie you up.
Hurting you is coming home
in raised red increments.
Hurting you is comforting
as the salt of your skin on my tongue,
as a spoon in my coffee
as my hand, in your hair.
I signed a one-year lease last month,
for the privilege of occupying this little green house.
I now have the right
to lean against the doorway
while I watch you shave;
I now have the ability to draw the curtains closed
and enact a quiet domestic mystery;
I may engage with the joy of frying bacon on the electric stove,
jumping back, as grease spatters across the counter.
We hold our assumptions lightly-
That the roof will hold,
the floors will continue to endorse gravity,
the walls will maintain the confidence
of the rope hanging on the headboard-
and the way it misses your wrists
at 3 in the afternoon.
We expect the carpet to never whisper
of the tears we shed over spilled milk or weighty debts-
the same thing,
as we will learn
when we forget to feed the fish
on the Thursday after next
when we find out Dad has cancer.
I wonder if houses and apartments
ever feel coerced,
like indentured servants,
perpetual surrogate mothers,
contracted to hold life after life
in their very bodies
unable to decide
who to let in
who gets banished
who they want to keep.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the stoic one
so let me wipe down the counters
before I sleep here, uninvited
and spend some time
in building trust.
I don’t like peanut butter,
I used to tell everyone I was allergic-
my mom even went along with it,
so that if they gave candy prizes at school
for some demeaning game
and I won
I wouldn’t be penalized with a snickers bar.
The year I was in a clinical psych graduate program
(the only year)
I had a small packet of unsalted, shelled peanuts
I kept in my desk-
for the times when I would get very hungry.
And I would eat one or two,
and then stop.
Because no matter how hungry I was,
they were always so profoundly disappointing.
dry, and abhorrent
as grade based averages in diagnostic assessments
which construe youth as a disorder
and reveal age to be a condemnation.
(age has always been a condemnation)
In the end,
it was more pleasant to feel hungry.
Jelly is a gem.
Jelly is the foil
to my seething cognitive dissonance
as I eat the damn sandwich
This is Kyle’s room!
He’s going to be here at the end of May
I think we are going to be good friends
I spent two hours at work putting together a playlist for him
Because he sent me his on a flash drive.
I hope he’ll see why Tarkio is soothing
And pick out the truth on every subway car
We’ll watch Firefly and have a home together
There’re red ships and green ships
But there’s no ship like partnership
(I’ll show him why that’s beautiful)
“Happy Friday, any weekend plans?”
I texted, oblivious
I wonder if he ever read that,
and thought, yes, I have plans
To suck off my Smith & Wesson
I won’t be around for the climax-
-or the cleanup.
I didn’t try to text again.
…was worried I was bothering him.
I got a call from his phone today, but it wasn’t his voice
…going to be Kyle’s room.
If Kyle had ever passed me on the street, I wouldn’t have recognized him
But he sent me all of his favorite songs
We both liked George Strait and Fur Elise
He was learning to play the violin.
I bought a queen bed frame in anticipation of his move
Not because we were going to fuck on it,
Just because he said he had an extra mattress I could use.
Seems wrong to look for one now, and the headboard leans uselessly
against the wall.
It’s been raining for weeks now
It’s probably just springtime in the mountains.
But it’s nice to think-
Maybe the sky
Is this why people want to believe in a god?
In a more than this?
I really don’t see the connection.
Me, I’ll just pretend
I’ll just believe that-
the sky is sentimental.