When I was an Ether

When I was an ether
I had shock punctuating
at key points in my body

This was when you were
learning five languages
Before you were done
cutting your hair
and began pressing thumbs
into naked bodies
for chakra points

Let me draw up
an old shoe string
A loose coil
holding the neck
of a leather seat
I don’t care which
And say
with this tie
around both our wrists
Same place you bit me once
I here thee wed
In sickness and in hell
for battered or for worse

I show you that line
and you laugh snort
You’re dramatic
but I’m melodramatic

You say you could write it better
And then
tell me more about affinities, you say
The ones between people

I like it best
when your fingers
cover mine
so I can look at your hands
You like it
when mine are underneath
Felt but not seen

Thoughts of death
always remind me of you
Not because you could
ever equal some thought
I don’t know the end
or beginning of
But because I can
walk across from one room
in my head
to another
from some starry image
of blackness
to a conversation we once had

When you said
You know when you’re lying
in bed at night
and you think of dying
then you’re paralyzed
You’re in bed;
Frozen

I tell you I know this feeling
Like this right:
Denial is looking down at you
from the ceiling
It’s out to lunch
for ten minutes
It’s so thick
Living in you so long
It could form a whole new person
And you could stare at each other

I tell you now
that this conversation
gives me comfort

You say you miss me
And I know it’s lips talking
that you just put on
You have a Velcro mouth
You go through a tin box
looking for the right press-ons
for the right thing to say

I’m the same
sometimes

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We won a limo ride

We won a limo ride
to the strip club
from a juice bar

I signed up to dance
It was a contest
Me
against four other average chicks
and one professional pole dancer
who hurled her sweatshirt off
to reveal a lulu lemon set

As I unbuttoned my pants
to flash a cheek
your copy
of Catcher in the Rye
fell out from my waist line
I always kept it there
like a ready gun
It opened to a page
where you drew a little phone
beside “phony”

We wrote letters
Until we didn’t
I want to hide
in the speck of mascara
on your eyelid, he wrote

So I ran home
to call you
and tell you
it’s never too late

How I smelled
your bandana
that you sent me in the mail
Slept with it
on my pillow

When the professional
pole dancer
was grinding on my boyfriend
who sat listless in the audience
I thought
I could always end up with you

When he spent
the night searching for me
Paid the limo driver
to drive around town
while he looked out the window
combing through the dark for me
I was adding notes
to our book
Pretending
you would read them again