How We Were and How We Are Not

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I was comfortable with how we were.
As warm and cozy as the apple pie
we used to make,
spending hours deciphering your mother’s handwritten recipe.
We clapped during shows while holding hands,
timing it just right:
our free hands hit each other at the perfect moment.
You pretended not to notice when I shopped in your closet,
stuffing shirts infused with your scent in the bottom of my backpack
(I still sleep in them).
The time I painted your left pinky nail silver.
We could sit and talk and watch Woody Allen for hours on your old broken bed
with no pillows and one white, puffy blanket.

That blanket felt like clouds,
and I felt like the big window next to your bed would eventually disappear
and then we would really be floating.
Floating with the cloud blanket
above all the brownstones
and float in the air over Brooklyn
over my house
way over the park where I cut my knee falling off a bicycle,
and then continue.
Continue over the Hudson and
over the mouth of the river, downtown where it smells like fish
and finally leads to open sea.
And we could look at the boats way down below,
bobbing in the water like the cork bobbed in the wine
that time that I didn’t know how to use the corkscrew and pushed it down into the bottle.

And we could think how funny it was
that they were so far below us
because really how did it happen that we’re both floating
(us and the sailors)
on completely different altitudes?
We’re both just people and we’re both just trying,
and all I ever wanted was two things:
gummy worms and
you you you.

If I had you
everything else would tumble into place,
I thought.
And it did,
I think.
With you all the chaos in my head stopped for a little while.
I was calm for once.
That’s how I really am, maybe,
because I think I was myself with you.

I am uncomfortable with how we are not.
I play soccer against a wall, not against you.
I listen to the same songs again and again.
I clap the normal way.
I don’t go to Brooklyn anymore.
I’m harsher and rougher
and sometimes when I laugh I turn to see if you’re laughing too,
but empty space can’t smile like you do.





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