©1999 by Erin Elizabeth
There are nights when the fettered stars hang like loose
barb wire across the sky, and all I can think to do is pull
shut the shades, try not to use your name in my verse,
cleverly call you by emotion, by the way your curtains move
with such equestrian grace.
I want to write, to tell you of all the times I've lost myself
in the produce section, hitting melons with index fingers,
rolling Cortland apples in my hands, searching for brown.
How absent between the green pepper and Romaine,
I think of you, cross-legged on emaciated college mattresses,
telling me that Civil War cities are like does in fog lights.
That everything sketched here would smear and wane,
and we would not notice in this wired parallelogram of university.
But there is nothing to say, except that I still see you, hair slightly
askew from fans, Virginia autumns, reading Marx aloud
over the light of muted television. Except that every time
I close correspondence with cryptic quotes I mean to tell you
that even outside of the meandering of produce aisles,
I mislay moments, thinking of that late May afternoon
when I walked past the bathroom door to hear you
singing "Blue" through the trivial battle of showerhead and tile,
and I knew I'd never capture your hummingbird hands, even accidentally,
There are nights when I cannot collect you enough, or
in anything but twice-used grocery bags, wet with condensation
and two grapes left for dead in the crease.
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