Harold in December
I watch you tug a rubber band around your wrist—
watch fingers flex upward toward the murky dusk-lit
Mexican restaurant where you eat as though you've starved yourself
for anything other than me, and we drove southward in my car
because you spent the long trip from Eatonville chain smoking,
the old truck rattling before it came to a stop underneath
the antique yellow stretch of the streetlight's shadow,
and later in the bedroom darkness when you held me
you frightened me with your jittery spontaneity, but later
in the frozen dawn when we kissed goodbye on the open
street with merely the newly formed frost to chaperone us
I lingered on my tiptoes longer than was necessary just to
keep you still and guarded beside me; to keep the kiss
kindred, to keep the kiss at my beck and call because it had
been so long since someone reached out for me in the night
and clung to me. So long since someone slid my body across the
sheets just to get better access to the curvature of my spine.
I could measure time by the possessiveness of which you clung to
the worn strap of that rubber band, pulling and pushing, turning
and angling until finally on the giggle-filled drive home it
snapped with a spark and a disheartened hue;

our beginning
our ending
with the sharp calamity
of elastic and twine.