Poems

June 3, 2009
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Summer days always linger so much longer than they should, stretching and convulsing outwards until they collapse under themselves in a tangle of bruised extremities and sink into a halfhearted sort of nighttime. Katie tends to lie awake at night, and the sky is full of stars without any reason for itself and sometimes I touch her, put my arm out and around her waist and play my fingers over her hip or her stomach for a minute, but never for much longer. Katie as a rule sees no practicality in being touched. She smiles so small and flips over so that I could trace every single line and contour of her back if it were just so bare, and she presses it up against my front sometimes when she thinks I am asleep but I never am, so far as I can tell. She only wears t-shirts to sleep in when her nightgowns are all dirty because there have been too many classes, too many extra hours put in at work, too much course work and not enough time to help the old lady who lives downstairs with her groceries or take a trip to the Laundromat or even to wash dishes next to one another like we always do when we can and how beautiful it is when she smiles because she loves that I always let her wipe them out even though it’s my favorite job too and that there is sometimes soap on her nose at the end but I kiss her anyway, even if her lips are a little too bitter from suds and even if she hasn’t had time to do her hair up right.

Katie, I think, reduces me to run-ons. No matter how many degrees and honors are tucked into the hall closet.

There’s a big window in our bedroom, and I’m always sorry that we live on a third-floor apartment instead of the house that Katie always wanted as a little girl, the one tucked away in a miasma of cut copies of itself, filled with matching armchairs and window treatments. From the window we can look out and see the train some mornings, the mornings when we let ourselves stay in bed until the light dancing over our bedcovers is stupid (because that’s the only adjective left) and the curtains seem to have lost the softness they harbored in the earlier hours.

That’s when we finally get up and begin to move around slowly, and we stand with the precaution of ducklings testing our legs out for the very first time, because we truly are scared that if we move too fast too soon they’ll snap in two. She leans with her forehead pressed a little too close up against the glass of the window and lets her hip bump up against the bedside table, only because our room is too small, and she always has to be able to look up and see at least what she imagines are the stars- even if we can see so few in the city light, and it’s the middle of the afternoon. Her hair is messy, and it tumbles down her back greedily, with no regard to how she feels about the tangle of blonde or how long it might take to get out all the knots later. She closes her eyes and I can feel her imagining that it’s a completely different window, and it scares me so much.

I let her stand there, though, and sometimes I pull a book off the shelf and read her poems by Cummings because he’s the hardest. I try so hard to make the words leap off the page and show the spaces between them, and once in a blue moon I do, but more often than not they fall flat into the air. Once she looked up at me, her eyes sudden in the early afternoon light.

“Thank you.”

I let myself drop the book to the floor, and undoubtedly the paperback cover would crumple (it did) but I didn’t care so much. She met me three-quarters of the way there, and I held her tight enough I wished it hurt.
***

I found one of her poems lying around once. She never let me read them because she said they weren’t done. She had one or another kind of deal now, so there were always manuscripts, and I finally did accidentally pick one up.
here it is:
the thing being that I don’t want to. al





most
shouldn’t, really, tell you, but it’s Never been my style

[To leave you




hanging]



before. I guess it was that I didn’t have enough to say, didn’t have enough words in me

for you

{which is kinda funny, because I’ve always been the


one with words growing like choking wildflowers flowers on her lips and you were

In the background with your gui-tar and the radio on




but never words.}

it’s testimony, or something of the sort, I guess.

to Us maybe you would say, but I don’t know if that would be


one of the flowers, because it doesn’t



fit with the colors of the rest well.

(we were always too many colors for anyone that



didn’t have a radio and a gui-tar.



on at the same time.)





wishful Thinking is all the


Thinking I seem to do, of













late.

of early too, come to


Think of it.

When she came home, I still had a little wet gripping onto the corners of my eyes.





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