REMEMBER HOW SAD THAT WAS WHEN
I missed sadness because I no longer missed you,
how emotionally counterintuitive it was
as my citizenship in the nation I made of you
gradually relapsed. I woke some other
place with lakes and blue skies and rush hours
and strangers I worried about. But no you.
No ages of you. No your name three times
when I walked somewhere or lay down at night
to bargain with sleep. No you
falling from my mouth everywhere I went.
No you anywhere to be seen.
A secret to keep. And mostly I did,
even beside other women who asked
with the privilege of their bodies
if you had ever existed and what did you do
and did you have a name I’d share
and had you been good to me
but I never gave you up. I left the last of you
to be lost in the fog inside me.
Napping in bomb craters, haggling
over debts I couldn’t deny were mine,
memorizing every month’s horoscope.
It seemed then the days
you had left me stained in sadness
were like that. Good apples on backorder from God
and the steaks full of blood
you taught me to love, rationed.
At least I told myself this,
thinking of all the never you were.
But there were limits and lengths
and limits again. There were
songs inside the fog inside the world.