by A. Mcnamara
He gave me a toothbrush before I left. Small stone red paper
and broken ground for planting.
He crafts small fences and I talk to the beets.
He tells me my eyes have gotten bigger
in the months since the medicine got out of my blood
and I nod, looking through him to the wild light
and all the waking trees, wondering
if I love him for a long time
will my feet know the ground
will my heart root in something quiet.
He never kisses me in the way that tugs
my lip out like a question mark
just before letting go.
I remember your face like iridescent sky
on the doorstep of a street
where I could only hold your fingers
because you were a woman and I was a woman
and we were perfect but we were wrong
so my stomach beat for my heart
down all 300 miles of track
leading back to the place that is not home.
His heart is made of something farther from the fault line
and I suspect it cannot be broken.
This gives me strength or gives me seizures
when I need to be touched by hands
that know my face in darkness
and enter me without words.
There is a terror to being broken
and a terror to never being known.
He told me his theory of love
on a night in January
on a hillside
next to a city splayed out
so jeweled and cancerous
it threatened to shatter my skin
while he was as calm as the rocks
that we sat on. The theory was fascinating
the way "world peace" is fascinating
the way museums are fascinating
with their stories of human history
narrated by frozen people in paper-mach√©.
He told me that real love is not a feeling
it is a commitment, he thinks,
to growing together no matter how many storms come through.
I thought of canned peaches in winter
old socks and silence
and I liked it
and I thought he was as crazy in all his stillness
as I am in all my rage.