savings account

I keep the moments

coins in a piggy bank

but I love the rain, so I’ll save them for sunny days

when the shadows and trees all look the same

and I’m trudging uphill to get to my next class,

hours drifting past like sluggish clouds

his smiles are pennies—the heads-up kind

the ones he reserves for late nights

sipping coffee from a shared mug

bathed in yellow lamplight

legs crossed, side-by-side on the futon couch

passing the phone back and forth, sharing music

nickels and dimes for each expression

he’s cast in my direction

the time he returned with two bags of chips,

offering them in the harsh glow of the ambulance

direct eye contact, a lion bringing his mate fresh meat

or the evening he glanced across the table

I stopped chewing What? and he

wouldn’t tell me what he was thinking

but his features softened like room temperature butter

thumb grazing my cheek

our hearts beat as equals, I like to think

I collect his histories like state quarters

some are tarnished, redundant, old

I keep them all the same:

how his parents met, his youth spending cold weekends in tents,

the books he’s read while taking the less-traveled path

and one of my favorites: standing on the side of a mountain,

listening to the words of a stranger, a man,

telling him all about how rewarding it is to be a paramedic

I almost imagined I was there, bearing witness to that moment

one of the many that delivered him to me, to me

that quarter is South Dakota; that moment is his traveler’s tree

his water in times of emergency

I like to think, I like to think because it makes a beautiful scene

his laugh—the real one, the one that echoes through his chest cavity,

the sweet ring of it grounding me like gravity—is silver dollars

to keep, not to spend

to examine the quality and recall how one acquired it

through blissful nights, fingers gracing thighs

wearing love on the outside

that’s what eviscerated means now

the guts of our emotions hanging from stomachs

vulnerable, exposed, susceptible to infection if we’re not careful—

I cherish those silver dollars, his iridescent laugh

waking up alone in the morning,

it’s the first thing I’m afraid to forget

moments like coins, I collect

until that piggy bank overflows

and I’m rich with shared memories

the spaces in my brain packed with thoughts of him

like atoms in an interstitial alloy, like steel

I like to think, I like to think this is only the beginning

so I’ll keep a piggy bank and I’ll mark the dates

and on sunny days, I’ll rifle through the contents of the jar

savoring every moment like a starved woman with a chocolate bar

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