I have read each scrap of myself
you left behind, forgotten manuscripts
forming something like a city of poems.
I'd like to live there
in a sixth floor walkup and fall asleep
to a railroad lullaby
accompanied by the sound of crumpled paper
colliding with a wall in some
perverse attempt at origami.
I've often sketched your lips
as wings of a heron I once saw
at a distance, but the feathers always end up
looking like the blades of grass between my shoulders
from the first time you kissed me.
I remember them like I remember
electric blue encased by the owl-eyes
of a butterfly that morning (did you know
I waited longer for that butterfly to blossom
than I waited for you).
You never did appreciate my thighs
the way you ought to, simultaneously
avoiding my eyes and complaining
about the inevitable end
of bees and the universe.
It was in those moments that I
had to remind myself that you are not
a chemist nor a politician just
afraid. And I used that sympathy
to dry swallow my forgiveness.
My forgiveness tastes like the ocean,
but I've never tasted the ocean.
You always said you wished
your father were a bricklayer because
there is something romantic in building.
But you didn't know
you were a bricklayer,
your bricks whispering to you
to build walls around me.
You were always good like that
at obeying the taste of grapes or strawberries,
one of which told you
to become mute while the other told you
to be impenetrable.
I suppose you never
confessed your penances because
you assumed your desire to be
something less than alive might
be too loud to whisper.
But don't believe I didn't know that
when I reached the end of your paper trail
I would find that
if I tried to make origami
with your love for me,
I would find myself permanently
lacking in paper.