you are cold and
getting colder, wet hair
frozen on the backs of your
shoulders. i am
watching. cars are
for us to get out
of the way, the narrow
road narrowing. they never painted
a yellow line here

i am watching the strands as
they harden,
spooling down
your back. you say it’s
been a long summer, a hot
one, although it
could have been hotter


if there were a choice i’d be scarred
and unpretty, you could
not hold it against me that i
wear mascara

we broke it off on the porch in
mid-august, over raccoon eyes, my
pigtails, that i’d been drinking beer
with my friends,
my oversized sweatshirt,
my lack of a bra

you smudge eyeliner off with the
back of your hand, play
finders keepers with
me even

i guess i am smaller than
you are in more ways than one

for ottawa.

your strongest part is
your autumn

frail dust from stale heat penetrates
asphalt, winter sets in

a cloak like a hard wall on
bay street, your arms like chain
fences holding in dogs without leashes

this is the top
of a hill that i
never wanted to climb

he says my sunsets are
beautiful. he doesn’t know how they

crash behind flat-roofed apartments,
die with the city before it gets dark


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