32 Days

I miss your dark eyes

laughing in the half-dark

buying me drinks all night

in a mostly-empty jazz bar

 

I miss the shape of your mouth

when you softly say my name

just before you lean in

and rest your forehead against mine

 

I miss your hard hands

when I slip mine into yours

as we walk along the riverfront

in the town that you call home

 

I miss the hollow of your shoulder

where my head just seems to fit

falling asleep without noticing

waking up still smiling

 

I miss so much about you

when you’re so far away

but in a few days, for a few days

I won’t miss you anymore

 

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Considerable Substance

These are the parts of the man I love

which I will hold inside

until I can watch him read the words

and then he can decide

 

I’ve never known a story

without some ugly chapters

that didn’t leave me cold

or really seemed to matter

 

He thought I’d be afraid

of some things that make him mortal

but honestly, these imperfections

are just another hurdle

 

He comes to me with solemn words

expecting that my heart will change

I guess he’s had too many losses

in this kind of exchange

 

The more I know of him,

the deeper in I get

the shadows of his life, the dark,

don’t change the night we met.

Drift

Just maybe I shouldn’t have taken the chance

But now every song I hear is about you

And instead of walking away then

I stayed around much too long

 

You’ve been asleep just more than an hour

It feels so strange to think in reverse

I said goodnight to you at noon

You’ll wake as dark settles

 

2am, I know you’re not sleeping

The afternoon message

Tells me you can’t

Awash in hearts

 

I can see there in my mind

One dark wisp of hair

over your brow

you never

move

Clever Bird

I lie to myself

and say it’s not him

when I wake up at night

three hours in

 

but I’m swimming in…

the line of his nose

and the shape of his teeth

as he begins to smile

 

And all I can think

is “birds don’t have teeth”

but there they are

in my clever bird

not quite a grackle

not quite a blackbird

 

I hope that he will kiss me

but I hate myself for what that means

watching him walk down the sidewalk

at four a.m.

750 Miles

750 miles from my home

is the first thing I’ve felt in months

the winters are bitter here

but they can’t touch the cold

of flying home alone

 

Trying to find in the words that I know

the picture in my mind

the complex story

of the colors in his eyes

 

I guess some people drink and some smoke

a needle in a vein or a pack of cards

my blood rush comes

from a dark-haired man

 

I try not to think too hard

about how he got that scar

but a deep breath of cool summer air

and before I know it’s there, a sigh

and on the air is the smell of him

close enough to touch

and 750 miles away.

Lake Michigan from the Sky

There are always pieces of home

in every place I tend to wander

from the softest highland hills of Mexico

to the ruthless rocks of Colorado.

 

I look out the window

to see the long straight road below me

two cars passing each other in the empty

not knowing they aren’t quite alone.

 

The perfect right-angle geometry

of corn, or maybe soybeans

a safety in the familiar

despite never having been here before

 

Lake Michigan sliced out against the farmland

a perfect blue arc terminating in green

the silver silos and white farmhouses and barns

all with their view of the inland sea.

 

And something in this feels like home

an urgent familiar that I can’t quite express

in the twisted rivers and sand

as I search for a home I haven’t found.

Milwaukee

I woke up to light

streaming through stained glass

and the leaves on the tree across the street

rolling in the morning breeze

 

The clock tells me I’ve slept five hours

and I think to myself

five hours isn’t bad

and I sit upright

and scrub the night

out of my eyes

with hands that don’t shake.

 

The only sound I can hear

is the window AC

and despite it being July

I’ve been cold all night

I guess if you asked for the truth

I’ve been cold all year.

 

I’ve been on the road these days

picking up the pieces of myself along the way

learning over time

that home isn’t a place

but a feeling.