Your bags were packed
and left at the door, the vase you
filled with shells, wrapped in tissue,
your books boxed. I have the whelk
you found on shore, the small conch,
intact—the point, the fine grooves—
and keep it in a box with a picture of you
at the beach: your hair slicked back,
head cocked at an angle.
Behind you, the green jacket
you told me to throw away. Strewn
over a chair, its arms dangle
above the floor—a hole in the pocket,
the elbows thin from years of use.
I become each day more reckless,
too impatient for summer, the unbearable heat,
the calm that comes with it. There are no hills here,
not one, and I’m bored with the stillness
of the yellow field outside my window. And you,
who cannot keep still, who can never
look back, where will you go next?
How will I find you?
Can you feel the world pull
apart, the seams loosen?
What, tell me, will keep it whole,
if not you? if not me?
Send a postcard, picture, tell me
how you’ve been.
Running down the stairwell in the garden,
I divide the steps by three, until my
foot catches the edge, wet with rain, and my
frame, flung forward by its own momentum,
leans into the night as if reaching
for something I didn’t know I
wanted. Not the moon. No. Not the sky,
suspended and limitless. Not even
the tulips standing on their stems
(their petals cup the air).
But in the streetlamp’s circle of light, I land
among them, broken.
My body can’t contain
itself, as blood burgeons in my hands.