In this frigid winter of your forgetting
where any meeting is fragile,
we meet between
morning & more snow. I picture
your mind filled with shadow. In some future, I hold
the skull saw, the light that the saw lets in.
Is it luxurious to be still
alive, after the life you’ve been given
Dementia gathered in my grandmother, a decade
ago. She forgot my mother’s name. Our faces. How she begged
my grandfather to take her home every day.
I can’t imagine a cruelty that will allow us to keep you
of mind, stutter of hope. Should I shutter
your mouth to the wind coming
off the lake?
In sub-zero temperatures, even the hares disappear.
The stars, like past selves, risen on dark water.
The snow kicked up by our shoes reminds me
How we eloped not once, but twice. Buildings,
fallen in the background. The airports full of automatic weapons.
I’ll try my best to remember
where we were & how & when, & who made who laugh
before the altar
of night, & how the cold snuck
into my hands when you were someone else, suddenly,
& memory was all that could separate us.
Powerlessness is the Animal We Fear
In Florida during a hurricane evacuation, fuel tankers
drive I-75 South on Good Morning America
but never reach us. The gas stations, empty, except for the lines. My son
drives station to station with me, his eyes bright as moons.
Later, bullets careen through the bodies at Parkland High School. Amid after-threats,
our son’s school is in lockdown for weeks. The kids sit through daily drills, not allowed out
of closets, even to piss.
We go to the beach for my birthday.
Another maybe-child spills from me like a constellation
into the shower drain. At my annual checkup,
the doctors find masses in my breasts only an ultrasound can hear.
Tonight, the blood moon. And you. You call me terrible
as the hurt you’ve dragged over continents enters me like a picture-hanging
nail, the claws opening a hole in my heart.
I dream all night that bars seduce most of the men I love.
The drinks, the drugs.
The prairie that holds our fathers
we know not where.
The wildflowers I have already picked out for your mouth, riverstones
to cover your eyes.
I wake to suicide notes you leave around the house, on our phones.
Our son wears headphones to escape you, asking me if we can.
What I know is: we fell out of like, as he slept that night. The eye
of Hurricane Irma hovering over the city. The bay waters sucked back to the ocean
for three days before the storm made landfall.
So much of terror is in the waiting.