islands in the stream

I
those early days involved shrieking
punctuated by an hour or so
of clarity: we both knew all the
hits penned by the Gibbs not
performed by the Gibbs and so
we decided we were best friends –
a meeting of the minds at the bar
just by the gumball machine
stocked with stale peanut M&Ms.
like little girls with pricked fingers
sealing this with little girl blood,
only bourbon, forever and ever.

II
i’d lost it long before you did.
you were the only one who
didn’t recoil from me, didn’t
wonder was i pregnant? on
antibiotics?
because nobody
else could fathom why i’d stop.
you didn’t get it yourself but
you didn’t question, just changed
the scenery, the backdrop of
our little performances. coffee.
shopping. i couldn’t stammer
the words to convey the gratitude.
gratitude was still foreign, something
bounced among the folding chairs i
was now surrounded by. but i knew
i’d be able to pay you back one day.

III
you were not there. you were
not you. the visit went terribly
awry and i cried on the red-eye
all the way home to boston.

IV
a year later, we speak in platitudes
punctuated with profanity. i’m
amazed that we are speaking the
same language. all the way home
to boston i am saying thank you,
thank you
to the plane wing, the
full moon, the barf bags. thank you.

V
i stuff an envelope with stickers,
old Florida postcards, milagros,
whatever i can find that they’ll
allow (“no plants, no food, no clothes”)
because i want to be there when
i can’t. have my stuff. you can
send it back when you’re done.
just be done. be present. i love you.

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