A long time ago
when shorelines were distant coils of oxidation
furling in fierce retreat
sitting with my burned face toward ageing sun uncaring
of consequence
I thought of you, though you did not yet exist for me
as if stone washed over with sea’s lash can predict
when next it will submerge and what salt left behind
shall form, glittering in unearthly torment, the portend.
It was your words I felt then
written in the wet sand beyond
as permanent as ink swallowed whole
never to be emptied can stain eternal
I didn’t know what color your eyes would be
or how, captured in the low swell of clay
you might taste, speaking under waves
but surely as our hands entwined
I would recognize you.
This still happens
even after you shoved me off your hot back and said;
I don’t carry monkeys
the lip of your illness or some error in my circumference
so easy to shake low hanging fruit to earth
watch hungry birds scurry to the next tree in bloom
picking up faces like magnets, the collectors of souls
care little for individuals or whole
found underneath briny rock turning luminescent
theirs is surface, where all is bronzed and glorious
an immediate swell into my veins hold your lips closed and breathe in
the crush of moments, surging and diminishing
you were never a fragment to be chewed and spat
nor a passing train whose whistle cuts sharp of midnight
with shrill reminder all shall transition
you said nothing is forever, do not ask me to promise.
Yet, when I traced the circle you left on my wrist
a scent of what we were
daubed in indigo and regret
I couldn’t let go of those pieces
much as I wished to avenge
the ache you gouged in my chest.
is a funny state for folk who
have only known the urge to run
the piece of metal lodged in my heart needed
none came
but relentless fall of rain landing soundly and heavy
against glass mouths
I thought of where you were in that instant
burning in ether cosmos, or buried beneath spring crocus
your tongue one I held close to the mercury of myself
who else was ever able to
pry open this closed place
step in and take a true inventory
of the parts I hid behind their oiled function.
You once said I thought I knew so much
being educated and light-skinned and black-tongued
in every language I replied; not true! not true!
it was you who knew
following your footprints deep into forest
where your ancestors called
wanting to be part of that shell you called a person
though it turned to stone
though it drowned beneath us
only to be reborn.
girl of cages and feathers
with words I could never capture
it takes one who matters
to slay hope
tie it with butchers string
hung on rusted hook
swinging softly against what should
have been

6 Replies to “What should have been us”

  1. All the places that this imagery glows, and stings, and resonates… So good.

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