I repeat your name back to you
in a gentle drawl as it is and should be.
You make fun in your way
skipping ahead to spin back to me
drawing each word from your slow lips
until they tumble out with laughter.
I pick over-fertilized flowers
and put them behind your ears
tangled in your hair the most natural thing
brush another piece from your eyes
thinking of a magazine
that once told me to break the touch barrier.
You ask me, if I live for the sound
of my high heels on the sidewalk.
You’re one a those, you say
and I know exactly what you mean.
The very moment I lean in
I have a loop of it going different ways.
Five seconds play back
I lean in and you lean back as you did
five false seconds play more often
I lean in and you meet my cherry chapstick
lips and we are each other’s.
I say your name twice over in the shower
including the middle, you’re a whole person.
Ground my night in reality
of hair in the grass and laughter too close
why aren’t our faces touching.
You have a brightness in the corners of your
I was having a very emotionally and
academically productive day before you
posted that fuckin’ SZA cover.
And as you started the song you sort of put
your chin on the guitar for a second and
that’s been on a loop in my head for the last
It’s hard to write about sexually subversive
behavior in Faulkner when I’m trying not to
think about engaging in it myself.
Also, I thought I understood my sexuality
until you walked in in your damn indie band
baseball cap and now hey what the hell,
maybe I’m a lesbian after all.
You haven’t done anything to your bleach
blonde up in a bun hair in three full days and
you never wear makeup except in your
eyebrows and you’re the most beautiful
person anyone’s ever met
or watched in the movies.
And for the record, it is warm enough.
You left five minutes ago and the house
already feels colder.
Not in a sentimental way, I’m just colder by
myself. You know?
We exist here, in this time warp of a living
room, and nowhere else.
And the we felt a little more like
than it ever has today.
I know you want to kiss me, I can see it
every time you look at me.
I can feel it
in every movement of your fingers
and behind every time you laugh and turn
saying nothing, when I inquire as to why.
I hope you know that this isn’t
any less than it feels to be.
And when you leave
to go meet your girlfriend,
she is going to smell my coconut hair
on your neck.
Today, you told me
about a truly awful thing you did once
asked me, what it means to be a good person
and I just wanted to protect you
We are not formed of the dresses
we slip from along the way.
You woke up with the flower I put behind
crushed beneath you in your bed
and I’ve looked at the picture of you
sporting that flower
a thousand times since Saturday night
but it didn’t help.
The therapist my mother would never pay
would call this a “self-destructive tendency”
falling for people
who have long ago fallen for someone else
and I remember why I cried so much
at that idiotic book
that everyone loved freshman year
about accepting the love we think we
This is a bad idea
as if I didn’t know that,
but there’s a video of you on my phone
picking the left side of your mouth up in a smile
right as the camera hits you
and never realizing that image
feels somehow unethical.
I told you I thought you and your girlfriend
had broken up
and you said that if you had, I would know.
Is that license to wait?
And suddenly it’s four in the morning
we’ve been sitting on the bench outside my
dorm for two hours talking about that book
we read at the same time
and I could have sworn it was fifteen
I fell asleep on your couch watching Buffy
the Vampire Slayer
and drinking a PBR
and that’s really all I want to do with my life
even though when my feet touched yours
I looked pretty good next to you
in my not really me blue and yellow
cheerleader Halloween costume
turning my body left so that the room knew
we are together.
Except that we are not.
And who did that asshole think he was
asking where your girlfriend is?
You explained it away
but I know it was the way I look at you
when you aren’t looking.
I can tell the bruises on my arms are made of
my body telling me to get my shit together.
And I watched the scale this past week
115, 112, 109
How long can you go without eating?
Will you show me more of your
I stood between you and the wall tonight
and suddenly in my head you were turning
to push me up against it
breaking two god damn weeks of tension.
I promised to leave you alone
to let you figure things out
but what if the thing you have to figure out
is that I am part of your rebellious phase
You told me
that you started smoking cigarettes
as if I couldn’t smell it in your hair
and that you haven’t called your dad
in two weeks even though you love him.
I am trying to behave
so that you look back on this and think
She was really mature in that situation
I hope that your girlfriend
is not so composed.
You are twenty-one and now is the time
to break up with people for other people.
I called it modern romance,
because we’ve been watching each other’s
Spotify activity all afternoon.
How is listening simultaneously to Gillian
Welch, any less significant than before?
And I can close my eyes and feel my nose to
your neck in your chaotically straightened
bed, with Paper Wings on in the
You read Dorothy Allison aloud to me once
and now I can’t take in my favorite words
in anyone’s voice but yours.
The Last Day/The One I Sent You
I promised you that I wouldn’t write about you any more, in the interest of moving on, so to
solidify that finality, here’s this, (and I’m sorry for the novel of a text message preceding it):
The first thing I noticed when I saw you, was your green baseball cap. Nothing had ever looked
so right on someone before.
The next thing I noticed was your voice, honey. It’s been clogging my head ever since; I think
mine is in yours, too; November with a long O.
After that what I noticed, is that you noticed me. Wave to me from a bar table surrounded by
your friends. I don’t know you, hey, I don’t know you.
And then we met.
I’ve never known someone with such distinct facial expressions, by the way. You have one for
fractures, big eyes. One I wish I didn’t know so well. A thousand more, I could make flashcards.
Throw me in the faces of the people you love.
And you were right, when you said that thing about Real Fun. I hadn’t had fun in weeks: all I
think about is bylaws and racism and sexual assault. And you made every night, fun.
So here I am, stability embodied, hugs and glasses of water, wide hips. But stability means that
my ribs can’t open to fight for you. Stability means what I said, which is that I’ll stay quiet, until
I think about being an adult, a lot, with you. It seems like this could be good practice.
The quiet is killing me woman. How can you stand such an unbearable expanse of fucking
silence? Don’t even look at me when I walk by, not till I turn my back. What, you think I can’t
feel your eyes?
The concept of ready is heinous. We should all do things we aren’t ready for, more often.
Particularly when we are here, when we are twenty and girls and splitting apart with life.
We’re not ready for us. You, especially.
Moments of melancholy hope come in her Bumble account and the death in your eyes as you
smoke a cigarette alone on the curb and I get drunker and drunker and cry in my mother’s arms.
Even so, even in the image seared into my eyelids of her throwing herself into your arms (yeah, I
caught that little show), I know you want to kiss me, Amelia.