There is a story still I am afraid to tell. I ran from each girl figure
until they returned to memory’s dank. My best friend into the next
into the next. I stole chocolate milk with the first. We beat up stairs
giggling into our clay hands. She loved me with a possession I understood.
Together, we failed. I rimmed my eyes as she sterilized needles. I played
guitar as she pierced the web of her thumb. She wept with hate. Only I
could be hers. Only she could call me halfbreed until her mother slapped
her hard and she screamed, throwing the table. She loved me with a love
that wept with hate. She never went to school. She found money elsewhere,
in supermarket aisles and depots, a seller at times. She prophesied my elitism,
that I would become the New York intellectual who smells orchids in Union
Square. You’ll be that bitch at the store who buys brown eggs. I left her without
ceremony. One move, another. We saw each other each season, a cold settling
in, leather pushed through a septum. Her boyfriend the larper. Her boyfriend
the drunk. He stripped to nothing before me to demonstrate his gift, his fruit
thick and pink and hardening. She laughed a belly laugh as I stood grounded
and afraid. Now they both loved me and wanted me with the love that wept hate.
In the car I swerved lanes panicked, still drunk. I have described these roads
in many poems. I have told the story wrong in order to swallow the yellow
lights of her laughter, her two vole teeth growing vertebral muck. Today I watch
the smallest winged bug travel up and down my chaise lounge, itself atomic
choice. In dreams, she pleads for my return, pulls the empty street from my throat.