I breathe in deep
and feel the moment
glide between my lips
across the short distance
measured by sideways glances
and finger-tip brushes,
Stevie Wonder trickles
through the dancing speaker
next to your foot,
always tapping along;
I smile at you through the haze
filling up this tiny car
as we’re burning more than fingers
and singing along with all our hearts
signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!
It’s s’posed to be ironic
Over a pale green t-shirt
With the faded stain
Of the letter “T,”
That syrup-smooth tone
Even the bees recognized as sweet,
Buzzing around me as if
To catch what dripped out next.
Who would’ve thought crawfish
Could make my stomach flip?
And could anything sound more exquisite
Than fishin’ ho-wels and gaytah tay-els?
And when you paused,
For too long,
To catch your breath,
I held mine,
And prayed that you’d keep going.
Fly away into the sun, she told me,
spread your wings and take-off
twisting and turning, dodging drops
and veering left to brush against
velvet clouds and sparkling stars,
up, up, up,—always up
and away from eager hands
reaching out to clip wings.
I lean back against the too familiar
coarseness of a British Airways chair
and recall those words,
up, up, up, she whispered,
runway wheels lifting off,
fly away into the sun, my darling,
close your eyes and never stop.
The universe spoke
with me today
over sugar-free danish
I responded gratefully.
The perfect mix tape, you explain,
would contain equal parts 90s punk rock,
early 2000 club hits and a few
love anthems from the early rock revival
of Hair the musical–
a perfect combination of the best sounds
you’ve ever heard.
I think mine would include
your boyish giggle after you tell a joke,
maybe that Al Green song
we danced to all night,
your contented mmmm
right before we fell asleep,
and a constant loop of the first time
you breathed I love you.
about stray hairs
and stains I left behind
but you left something
much more permanent with me
In fact, at 16 weeks
it’s starting to kick back
Don’t look like you’re asking for it,
Stick to the buddy system,
Stay sober and on your guard,
Groups of three or more make it to the door,
And watch your drinks for any slips.
Avoid dark alleys, strange cars with strange men,
But also—short skirts, mixed drinks, red lips,
Full moons, plaid shirts, polka dots, and anyone named Rick.
Carry mace and don’t forget to scream,
Make sure he gets the other girl.
I’d call you both my North Stars,
but then Trish would point out
there’s only one,
and Chaney would argue
that if that’s the case,
it would have to be her
and I would pull up images
of night skies in Calcutta
and Jo-burg and Rome
to prove that different views
show different stars,
so you two could agree I’m wrong,
something we all know I’ll never admit.
So I’ll squeeze your hands
and keep quiet,
looking up towards the sky
for guidance and light,
a constant reminder
of how to find home.
I buy candles
just to blow them out
because I love the smell
of things freshly burned,
and you thought
it wouldn’t hurt?
I’m too full to finish I whined,
After my last bite of Spongebob macaroni
In an Oscar-worthy toddler performance.
Granny reluctantly appeared from the kitchen
Reproach half-forming on her lips,
Until my near empty plate stopped her
And our laughter caused the frown lines
In her forehead to disappear
As she breathed a sigh of relief,
That first memory, so similar to my last–
In her final hour, Granny looked at me
And smiled, the crease in her brow
For one last time relaxed.