You Can Take Off   Your Sweater, I’ve Made Today Warm

Sit on the park bench and chew this mint leaf.
Right now, way above your head, two men

floating in a rocket ship are ignoring their
delicate experiments, their buttons flashing

red. Watching you chew your mint, the men
forget about their gritty toothpaste, about

their fingers, numb from lack of gravity.
They see you and, for the first time since

liftoff, think home. When they were boys
they were gentle. And smart. One could

tie string around a fly without cinching it
in half. One wrote tales of sailors who

drowned after mistaking the backs of
whales for islands. Does it matter which

man is which? They just quit their mission
for you. They’re on their way down. You’ll

take both men — a winter husband and
a summer husband. Does it matter which

is — don’t slump like that. Get up, we have
so much work to do before —                          wait               you’re going

the wrong     way               small whelp of a woman!         this is not

              how we     behave                       where are you going

                                                                                              this world is already       willing

to give you anything                  do you want to know Latin

                                                                                                         okay             now everyone

here knows Latin            want inflatable     deer               deer !               i promise the winter /

summer children will barely hurt                   dear        i’m hurt   that you would ever think

                                         i don’t glisten to you         i’m always glistening

   tame your voice       and               turn around

the men are coming                    they’ve traded everything for you               the gemmy   starlight

              the click                          click                                  click

                                                                                                              of the universe   expanding


                                                                                                  stop


                   aren’t you known              aren’t you
                                                                              known here

how can you be certain that anywhere else will provide

                                                                                    more pears than you could ever eat

                           remember the sweet rot of it all

come back             you forgot your sweater

                                        what if there’s nothing there when you —

                                                                         you don’t have your

                                                                                                                 sweater


                                                                                                                                 what if it’s cold

More Poems by Paige Lewis
  • By Paige Lewis