“When you’re five, endings are sweet.
The familiar turning of a car on your street
in your sleep, and the sighing of brakes
before the door opens to wake you
with the cool taste of night.
The sound of rustling paper—
last page falling on the story your mother
read you, when you’re already tucked in bed:
“The End,” in all-caps whisper—
“Sleep well,” ‘Good night.'”
I’m an envelope carried for too long,
protecting my contents; my skin is paper
sheathing over fire that’s learned the art
of not combusting.
I’m doing the dishes today.
Washing and shelving plates.
Answering my child’s questions.
Driving through a forest in the dark,
the moon in Scorpio and moonlight
twisting my cold feet in their boots…
There’s a place beyond the runway lights
where clouds learn to talk to each other.
The air traffic signals
bounce off the silver linings,
radiating light spokes into the ether
and the wheels turning
sound like the music
of departure from the body;
the bullroar hum
indicating something otherworldly
and not quite comfortable
to the habits of feet…
…I was still new, and you were much newer
and sometimes I think about that, this whole time thing—
all the clocks with their arms and alarm bells
making awkward ticks and tocks toward winter:
you had such little hands then, hands I would have
held in mine and walked to the swings with,
and everything would have been different
but you caught me at the end of apple season
while I still have leaf-piles to jump in
so get it now while you can—…
calls my soul at night
out of its deep pockets
like the bullroar of frogs
in a downpour,
emerging out of nowhere
from the shadows
behind the growl of thunder,
closing down all my roads.
I think we’re stuck here.
Hunker down, lover.
We’re going nowhere tonight…