Rain in March
It’s always the same every year:
rescue teams fight the current, pick up
the oddballs who wished for excitement
and got plenty. Those who thrash about
in the shallows, certain they’ll make
the headlines, are left to their own devices.
Why do I wish to be here alone, the day
already gone, swept down river?
I still think what you did to yourself
is unforgivable. My memory of you
is not the same, its stem dwarfed
by the breath of some invisible god.
I climb a staircase looking for symbols
where there aren’t any. What if this
house was meant to be mine?
The staircase coils up into the ceiling,
a pledge of salvation on a small scale.
The windows open a wall toward the river—
the brown inside of a pustule—swollen,
tender, but mine. Its current runs
back and forth, in and out of this house,
never asleep, never awake enough
to drown me. I know I’ll never move out.
We talked in bed one night. The floors
creaked with silence. We remembered
the airport, people’s hands shooting down
for their luggage, the man with Stalin’s
moustache who gave us a ride home.
We clang to each other, waited for words
to do what words do. Later, the shadow
played through my fingers. I broke
the flute like a twig, watched the grass
grow blue in heavy rain. Where it ached,
I ached. I was afraid of my hands,
my webbed hands that knew no rest.
I love this rain because it is. I love
its absence because it doesn’t hurt.
The voice at dawn was someone’s
I couldn’t bear to hear. I saw the weight
of broken glass on your wrists,
the knee of a starved floor in your face.
The stain, the howl. It was the beginning
of loss, a passage into the wilderness
you had always known was in me.
The breath of a sky on torn shoulders,
the typical cringe in the snow, both
dated and hip. As if death were
the affirmation one’s worth dying for.
I’m still climbing this staircase.
Those who watch me are skeptical.
Windows slam at my breath. The Pisces
lean out of their sign—a constellation
eroded of meaning. This year, the flood
has been urgent and thick, a good
symptom. I don’t know if what I call truth
will suffice. I turned off all the lights—
now the gallery cries for help.
In the dark, spring is out for recess.
First published in Parentheses Journal, Issue 07, Fall 2019