November 13, 2018

My heart is heavy,
Full of too much love,
Your hundredth-second chance
Telling me how I don’t care
Or how I don’t try,
Confusion caused by your words
Spoken in a tongue
My heart doesn’t know;
Is that hatred you’re speaking,
Or delusion?

My heart is heavy
Full of too much forgiveness,
Your hundredth-second chance
Reminding me why
You only call in the morning,
Or why your toothbrush is gone,
Your absence more potent
Than your presence
When you’re lonely
And feeling remorse;
So, now you want to talk.

My heart is heavy
Full of benefit of the doubt,
Your hundredth-second chance
Whispering to me that you won’t change,
That this cycle won’t end,
Stuck forever
In a pattern of Fight Forget Fuck,
But I only see you sometimes
when you’re lonely
And feeling remorse
Over one hundred one chances
You know you didn’t deserve
And yet you took one more
Just to remind me how to hurt—
Your hundredth-second chance
Still not enough
For you to learn what love is.

I can’t tell if it’s me or you this time around,
but I swear I can taste the distance:
thick air choking the moments we share,
questions I won’t ask
eye contact you won’t make
both of us silent,
sleeping back to back.

I wake suddenly,
kiss your side,
you rise slowly,
kiss my neck,
and in the morning
we pretend it never happened.

There are two towels in the bathroom now
since we stopped sharing
our thoughts
curdle above coffee
as the clock stares at us
wondering who will excuse themselves first.

The elephant quivers in the corner
believing it’s his fault no one’s ever home,
that the air has turned heavy as lead,
the taste of iron on our tongues
as you give silent answers
to the questions I don’t ask.

home remedies

I left you a message
on someone else’s machine–
they listened to it twice
before calling back to hand me
the apologize you never got around to;
told me things would
fall into place.

there are home remedies
for just about everything now,
and as I sink into
a bottle of our favorite whiskey
I wonder if there are such remedies
for those who never knew home.

can things fall into place
when you’ve always been unrooted,
lost and wandering–
wondering when your number
stopped being your number,
wondering when my father
stopped being my father,
wondering when the absence
will stop feeling so lonely.

She claps slow and drinks fast, eyes burning into the performer upon the stage. Another whiskey neat lands on the table unordered—“From the gentleman playing,” the waiter whispers with a smile. She nods back, slipping a dollar into his hand and focuses once more on the man’s creased forehead and callused hands. So he noticed.
She sips slowly for this one, does not clap, knowing well he’ll be finishing soon—she has seen this set too many times to try to remember. He gestures for another round as she sits still, unmoving—silent. “Well,” he struggles, unsure of where to begin after two decades of absence. She stares at him through his own empty eyes, waiting for him to continue. “How did you find me?”
His voice is more worn, coarser, than she remembered, his face more sad and alone. She shrugs: “Wasn’t hard. I’ve seen you here a few times before. Surprised you finally noticed.” He nods steadily, hunting for words that won’t hurt either of them: “It has been a while, you do look a bit different.” They drink long, filling the silence the way he had taught her to, long before she could drink and long before he could handle too. She studies his features long and hard, searching for memories that may be hiding in the creases. None come forward. Time has a funny way of erasing the past; or at least tucking it away somewhere deep.
Her calf nervously dances upon her knee, the words she had practiced now unwilling to form on her tongue. He smiles weakly, understanding the quiet: “I’m sorry, kiddo.” Still, her lips remain fixed together, her eyes penetrating his as if attempting to read his thoughts. “I shouldn’t have left you the way I did. I should have called, written, anything. But,” his thought trails off with recollections.
“But you didn’t. You didn’t care. I’m glad all these new faces around don’t know you that way. Honestly, I’m glad it’s behind you; I didn’t come here to tell you I hate you.”
He laughs low: “Yes you did. And you have every right to. You’re the reason I’m where I am now, though; the reason I sought help.” She lowers her eyes to the table, where her shaky hands form waves within her glass.
“So why didn’t you come back?” It falls out so choked by pride he almost doesn’t hear her.
“I was scared. I was ashamed.”
Emotions well up within her eyes as she stands to leave, and as he follows her action, he knows that asking her to stay won’t help. Unexpected to them both, she sinks her head into his chest as tears race down her cheeks, hugging him as she did so many years prior. “I still love you, daddy. I always have and I always will.” His voice breaks as she releases him, “I love you too, angel;” but it gets lost in translation, years of dust leaving the words intangible.
She turns and exits, leaving him there alone with the past.

I’ve been looking for you
in every bus terminal I take to leave home—somewhere within these crowds I know
you’re there, endlessly attempting to escape yourself. I sit, pensive, between
the lonely legs of strangers: a woman to my right bounces her foot awaiting
someone who loves her; a man to my left tells a voice on the phone he won’t be
back, “don’t worry.” And I, I sit pensive, and think of a reason to leave, or a
reason to stay, and come up short both times.

Because, if I’ve learned anything from you, it would be the comforting
feel of being

lost.

So, I look for you now,
through herds of people also searching for something they can call home, empty
eyes watching fleeting feet. You have yet to materialize, but I can feel you
getting closer like a rain in my knees. And I know when my pupils dilate to let
in your frame, the comfort of being lost will evaporate, and this time, when
you attempt to continue your escape, I’ll ask you
Finally

To stay.