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.