after the slaughter there was no
motion. we stayed
clothed in bed for a very long
time. you greased
my eyelids for comfort
and blindness, you told me
you dreamed for three nights:
fictional lavender in washington
state; i’d dreamt of the heir
to a throne
i gifted you glasses for wine,
still held by their cellophane skin
while my son was unborn i called
him ‘alexi’, a namesake
the fields don’t exist in that
state, i had said, too smothered by
forest, by rock
like shadows of photographs
still developing, or an
scrapped pieces of
like our dinner, and
part is mine, a part is yours
[the second in a row, and i guess a part of some kind of series i started without knowing it, about home, and places that meant something but are now just something i remember.]
we are face to face in the
elevator. weird, because no one
stands face to face in an elevator.
in another you held
my son, kissing his face, i
was kissing your face. now we
can’t speak. the words are
unholy, and besides,
they’re not there.
sheer fabrics do more than let in the
light. we hang curtains, i pick
patterns for bed skirts,
you pay at the
you press every button
to keep me. the fabrics,
you say, can smother us too.
they explode in the sky,
an orange haze burns
horizon for weeks.
i cross one leg over the
other, one shadows the other
on purpose when walking.
they saw it coming.
ahead of him we stop, watch
melting metal rain upon the fields.
twenty nine years from now
in your photo the colours will blend,
effortless, the horizon will slope.
he will not be
in the distance my silhouette shifts its
weight to one leg, collapses an arm.
you cross a field, find the prints
of my boots in the snow.
the whiteness envelops the land.
our red sky inverts, fades into
night, one star explodes
at a time.
organizing my office can be
the best part of the day.
i hide bits of glamour
behind the sheets of
& the decoupage.
i find where i can fit you in
and let yourself expose
you. i breathe and i
pretend i don’t
i breathe and i
pretend i’m not
nostalgic for the year before.
since my boyfriend started this thing where he flies across the country for a week at a time for work, i’ve started this thing where i’m scared of my own shadow. not sure why. of course i’ve lived on my own before, and that was in a sketchy area in an apartment with big windows on the ground floor.
now the furnace comes on in the still quiet of the evening and i jump in my own skin. i try to focus on netflix or the courses i’m taking for work or books or pepsi or the sound of my own feet on the squeaky, century-old floors. i try to not see silhouettes of strangers in my backyard through the reflections of light in the double panes of glass.
i thought i’d be lonely or bored; i’m not. the last thing i thought was that i’d become scared to be raped or murdered in the place i love most, my own home.
it was christmas. all the walls came down at my torn toenails, the way his heels still sometimes do. it wasn’t an accident or anything; i chipped at them until they would not stand.
when i got the phone number of my first “love” this weekend, from his mother (that classic boy-next-door, the one our mothers dreamt i would end up with), it all became so clear. if i just called him, i could walk a small town party with him, in my high-heeled shoes (he’s an AUTO-mechanic, say it with me), linking arms and catching up on the fifteen years we lost. i’m sure i could. but i saw everything beyond that fallen concrete when he kissed me, though i forget the kiss. i remember that there were two mouths and flaring nostrils that i could see straight into. i remember that i touched his skin, protruding, an uncanny and disturbing scar. i remember that there were teeth because they bit me. i remember that there was a boy there doing this with me, but i forget his face the way i forgot his number and was reminded (incorrectly – he’s always been a kidder).
there is no chance for me. in the same way that there is no remembering. there are only small town memories, churches and backyards. addresses in covers of trade paperbacks. places to linger. places to look back at and remember the man i have loved from the very first day, a man who never wrote me a farewell card. a man who had not been a man, who had still been the boy next door.
until that boy next door gets married, i don’t stand a chance. even if he disappears without a trace i will always stay this way, making all the same mistakes, choosing all the wrong numbers to remember. somewhere in me i’m sure that it’s on purpose.
because i’d rather drift alone forever never knowing, than know that he was just one call away.
there is a spoon in my house that isn’t really a spoon at all. it isn’t mine; it was just here when i moved in & probably belongs to my roommate.
anyway the spoon is mostly flat. it still functions and everything. i don’t use spoons very often but it will hold my cheerios or my coffee if it has to. it’s slightly awkward but at least it functions. it just isn’t really a spoon.
and it’s christmas now, and it isn’t like last christmas. last year i had an apartment with a boyfriend and a christmas tree and coloured lights in the windows. everyone’s gifts were wrapped weeks ahead of time. we made hot chocolate and bought candy canes and put cards in the christmas tree. i made new friends and plans to spend my holiday with them. i ended up getting sick and spending three days alone on the couch with no one to help me feel better. it was a sign, of course.
this year i bought half my gifts at gas stations on my way back to hamilton. i didn’t take any time off. everything is simple. i don’t have any loyalties or promises or responsibilities. i have my neighbour feeding my fish, who are my best friends now. i don’t have any reminders of any of the people who have come and vanished from my life between last christmas and this one. except a slinky on my shelf, because it’s cool. i miss them all the time and try to convince myself at least once a day that i don’t because i can’t, i can’t miss anything because it is giving a part of myself away, because i have tough skin, because that layer of skin is strong but thin. and of course i don’t care. i just eat cheerios and drink beer and wear comfort sweaters and pretend.
so this christmas is christmas, again. and it’s all scattered and fucked up and different, but it’s the way it should be. last year i was too prepared. trying too hard for something i didn’t really want. and so i got sick. and another year over and a new one just begun. and my heart and my head are still exactly where they were last year. and i don’t mind and won’t apologize (to myself).
and it’s like a flat spoon in the drawer.
it shouldn’t work but it does.
merry christmas friends.
i woke up & didn’t know where i was.
i have been here before.
the door should not be here,
it should be there by the window.
(no, two days later, i remember, it was
i found myself again and again
here, in all the perfect moments
but it still ain’t quite right.
the apartment is different, more his.
i think of my own.
i think i remember that towel rack
broken, still on the floor. but that
i knew where i was after all.
i cut the bangs back again. i don’t know how to do anything else. sometimes i try for a few months to let them grow out, to grow up, but there’s no point.
and everytime i cut them again i think of what the hairdresser will say, but i keep the scissors going.
and the first time i cut them, when i dyed my hair purple at the same time he came back to a girl he didn’t recognize, and i remember his face, and looking like a different person, and realizing i was and i was not the person he knew and i decided around then that i’d move to ottawa.
and the first time i cut my hair myself i was in a basement bathroom that belonged to my high school boyfriend, and he was so unimpressed, and i had to keep the scissors going because i couldn’t get it even, and he had to help even though he didn’t want to, but we broke up soon after that and for the next seven years i was always okay to cut it myself.
and the first time my best friend gave me an undercut, and the second-hand store scissor-chopped clumps of hair sailed to the tile of her bathroom, and we never used a towel when she cut it and we dumped it down the bathtub drain and watched it catch and sometimes we’d get busted and her mom would be pissed and we’d fall asleep in the bunk beds at the end of the night and say before we drifted off, “i love you bitch.”
and the first time i broke my phone, living here, off justin’s balcony on january 18th 2008, and i lost all my hamilton numbers and so i went home and sat on the counter underneath flourescent lights, and cut the bangs and dyed my hair blonde.
not that cutting your own hair is ever a big deal, because it’s not.