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-maché.

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.