You kept a lizard necklace on,
even when you slept.
I asked you, “Why do you always wear that?”
You said it reminded you of last Summer
when you lived in Pensacola
and worked at Harrison’s Feed Store.
There was a leak that dripped
and made a spot on the floor in the shape
of a lizard in the break room.
I found a
crumpled up letter in
your top drawer while I looked
for my grey Oberlin sweatshirt.
Written on the letter:
"Sarah, keep this letter and this
necklace, even if you never
I will always love you.”
I asked you what you left behind
when you moved to Ohio.
You grabbed your green lizard necklace.
We were laying under a collage
of a mansion in the woods,
guarded by krishna
sitting in a hotrod shooting
reflective flames -
Two mattresses pushed together like life rafts
on a hardwood sea, my body flat and spread
like a starfish, yours straight and pensive
like a pillar candle, waxy, melted
and re-solidified over and over.
I reach for your hand and you pull away,
"This probably isn’t a good idea"
Isn’t necessarily what I had
hoped to hear,
but it was what I needed.
If I was skin on bone,
you were bandaid needed,
but torn away quickly.
UFOs dancing in the rafters,
I fell asleep with my arm across
you, because my thoughts
had aligned two stars
at the wrong time.
Krishna laughing from the wall
could not have guided me.
Being a tourist because of a funeral
can leave you seeing mountains
while your mind is full of piles of dirt
Can a camera hang around your neck
under the palms in California
while thoughts of rosaries hanging from necks,
their beads like black condensation
and rain drops that always fall
move through your head?
Flight attendants bringing
refreshments and neck pillows
as you fly over farms and cities,
like the boat of charon above the living -
The thought of a black hole forming
in the plane and sucking everyone
out, ascending them into the heavens
as if their souls are to be freed
from their bodies.
Rainfall taps on the metal wings.
Sometimes what we remember
is not the same as what we see on photographs
piled in blue suitcases kept in attics -
Men smile and show their teeth
like wolves disguised as sheep -
Grandpa with his sweet smile
as he hugs grandma in 1973.
“Grand Canyon Vacation!”
We do not see the bruises
from when he drank too
much tequila and she