J

I lived in the Shanty with him for almost a year-

Jeff Jeremahi

with his smile

and straight-backed walk that most presidents never even perfect.

How that room became a community

a democracy

of lipstick

and red silk ties

shoelaces

and the curve of my thighs.

How day had so many hours

but together we had only one

and the love letters that I doodled

making sure that I always rhymed

in the margins of my lined paper.

Scraped knees

and the drip of water falling from the ceiling,

oh how it filled the ceramic bowls

fire stained with the ruby red of my eye shadow.

I remember how he practiced his speech for hours

wearing lines into the carpet

thin

and older then both of us combined.

I froze in my sundress

neat and refined

during the windstorm

-broken windows;

and a kiss on the cheek for my troubles.

How advanced was my textbook of American Government and my C average, mingled with four a.m. trips to Starbucks, wearing his black sweaters (always to big for me) and how I read romance novels by the pound

asking-

always-

I straighten his tie

falling

again

against the shade of blue

in his eyes

and how I tried to make this place better for you

how I promised to turn myself around;

finish my homework

and not spend so much time in front of the mirror

but the power went out and by candle light

and my burning wick

he continued to practice his speech.