by Alexis Pope
thick evening and all this doubt
I am very quiet in this room.
I hang lanterns and my underwear
sleeps inside the crease where my thigh
meets ass. I fall back onto the bed.
When we talk about love, you touch
my arm and brain. But I'm done playing
with toys. There isn't enough sunshine
for our beachy thoughts. Instead
there is a whale in the corner. He is crying.
I can never be everything to you, but my arms
are open, along with other things. Tonight
I will look across the room, through the
inconsequential gyrating bodies and put
this face on. When I'm dancing, I disown
my body. When I move closer, I'm burning.
Can you feel me? Can you hear me? I'm singing
at you. Tomorrow I will wear black because
someone always dies. No options exist for me,
so I bury my stomach beneath a volcano, my heart
in satellite, my hands in a box under the bed.
I have never said anything that could be considered
wholesome. My mouth is too round and teeth
too shiny. I fuck and I fuck without getting
any closer to you. I might be disappearing.
But your arms lock around my center
and we keep breathing. And certain nights,
when the sky is just right, I can feel myself orbit.
On some level we are still just dancing without
music. As long as the wine lasts, I can make it
through the night. I may not be a happy girl,
but I can try to wrap around you. Maybe
it doesn't matter that much really. We can sleep
on the floor and I'll breathe the sugar
from your shoulders. It doesn't mean a thing,
who I thought I would be. It's who I am.
And we are so small and in love
with our small tongues and small
knapsacks. My sunday school shoes
want to be held very tight by you
with your tiny muscles. I am really not
so tiny. I am mostly large. We are
very tiny boats with a large
mentality. The water is sort of cold
like a hardness and I don't want you
to shake this much. I can see you
very up close like and it is my magic
trick except the bunny always
comes out dead. No. What I meant was
that is something I fear when
I am not sleeping close in our tent.
I meant to mention the sand
and how it was in your mouth
with me and we are French now.
Like cute hats. Stripes. A cigarette
I've never smoked. Forget it
I cannot. I am like a deer
when you are watching me and I
can feel it like all the headlights.
I don't want to meet your dead
mother or wipe the tears from
off your chin. I want to stand
at the top and fall like dead crows.
And our minds are made up
even though we can't yet drive
because we are so little. But what
is small about what our hands
can do? Poor little me and you
when we are alone. I'm going
to find you down a chimney
and touch you with my left hand.
the cow-heart's journey: a phone call
Between x and y there is a secret letter
and it is the answer to everything sad.
If I could remove all my parts and give
you a way out I would. I think you know
that my skin plays a kind of symphony
and the only time I feel okay is when
we are waltzing. We share a muffin
and the ducks teach us how to walk.
The volume is impossible. Your voice
turned up so high and all I want
is higher. Until my breath is a gentle
growl of all your best features.
In the grass we find a skeleton key
and bury it deep with our hands so
we will never find it without each other.
Amen is a word. Static is better.
I want to walk next to the lake with you.
Your shoulders are broad and your hair
is coarse. Tomorrow is Sunday
and we will make the bed together.
The sheets are softer after washing.
My belly was once round with life.
the forest reveals itself
On these nights the sky looks like stained aluminum. We keep close, our arms inefficient heat lamps, our teeth clenched with anticipation. On these nights he passes the nightmare around the fire and we inhale because we have no choice. One thousand times I have asked the same questions with no answer. One thousand times I have walked into the ocean without seeing my feet. Our nightmares are so very different. He is an airplane off course. On these nights I pull the cord and hope to land somewhere with no sky. I lace my boot and my ankle detaches from my foot. The grass feels like all the pennies I've ever thrown in the well. Hear them laughing as they reflect my inability. His eyes are different wells. I have never wished into them. These nights are colder than the lake I fell inside. The lake remembers my touch, but you have never known.
silent prays from the bedside table
We were walking.
What I mean is,
we were standing
somewhere. It was
a place like a field,
but you were younger.
You were not smiling.
You were holding
a pinecone. We agreed
on this once before,
that I have aged.
It's true. I can see it
on the backs of my hands.
I'm not sure how
to hold you anymore.
I'm not sure what it means
to lie in bed next to you.
The down comforter
between us. My knees
turn inside out, but
I'm not smiling
when I say
I love you.
We are small cots
in the same room.
Silent and empty,
I stand before you.
I am pistol thin and
feeling like the bedroom
was the wrong setting
when all I'm trying to do
is be less sentimental.
I'm sure that tonight
when I say goodnight,
we will sleep. We will sleep
on our stomachs.
We will wake up
in the same place.
A stack of bills
on the nightstand.