You have hidden your face so stubbornly
in your hands, soft and square, for the
third time this hour. I want to pry them
from your blush, tell you it’s no sin, and after all
this talk of overcooked capellini and of the way
Gertrude Stein defines poetry, I’ve finally
fixed a way to betray my nouns with dignity.
(I think.) It doesn’t stop me from retelling stories though,
and you’ll listen, gently waiting for me to remember,
which is good for me, because I’m due for dementia,
and we’re both well versed in forgetting.
And this patience is what lets me sleep,
honeycontent, on the couch across from you,
sweater twisted so it’s just on my arms,
because it is cold, and you are noteeth smiling again,
and because the deep night is pouring in the window.
You believe in ghosts, and I believe in you,
simply, the way goats believe in tall spaces,
the way rain believes in loam, the way
‘even the rain’ keeps loping into our parlance,
the way you say truly. You forgive me at least
four times a day, and I fold up each one small, tuck
them into my hair for later. My head gets heavy
before I start handing them back to you. I think
you should save some of that forgiveness for yourself,
and I can tell you that, because we dissect
our hurts clinically and grinning. See,
this is your fourth dead grandma joke today, and
tomorrow, the word obituary will feel more natural.
But for now, we can fight over the thermostat
like there’s not enough warmth in the wine.
You are filled with fox fur and fire, and
I can be cold enough for the both of us.

[Fall, 2015]

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