you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him traveling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.
Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.
Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.
‘I still care for you, you know’
That phrase again Everyone
cares for me. They just don’t
know how to love me.
The blue river is grey at morning
and evening. There is twilight
at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
wondering if this quiet in me now
is a beginning or an end.
I would’ve never believed that I’d forget you:
the sound of your laugh, the size of your hands,
that one day I’d have to rub my forehead
like a genie’s lamp to pull out your last name.
I would have slit my tender paten to pulp
to shake bloody and swear that one day
we would share a last name, or at least
a flamboyantly oversized prom picture.
But now, I could form a terrible band
with all the boys I thought would pant
their presence forever on my heart, but
instead evaporated almost completely,
leaving only the tease of our nicknames,
the soft ghost of their favorite tee-shirt,
and the dusty ordinary ellipse of what
could have been.
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz