seasonal memories

it takes six years, they say

to cleanse your policy from my brain

you, who, gazing out the tower window

glanced over your bare shoulder

a look of abjection, cutting fingers on semi-colons

you strung your guts around my room

Christmas lights and tinsel to celebrate

throwing bouquets of sunflowers on her grave

run away from that upturned dirt

and maybe his cheekbones will keep you sane

you never let me repeat it

but I won’t forget his palms pressing

the blade of a baseball bat into mine

beating mailboxes, they said, while

I lowered myself on the bench press

with my eyes, I took his hand

it was past closing time, we were alone

dragging heavy feet up a rickety staircase

the world grew small, nostalgic

leaving him with his thoughts in darkness

I’ll never know if he trained in fire science

but we used to flicker signals in

brake lights and brights at the end of our shifts

you never let me forget

the weight of organs in my chest

your arteries never belonged to me

plucking roses to kiss their petals

discard them like used tissues in the end

it’s not my story, I won’t pretend otherwise

he called for a tube I didn’t know how to prepare

thinks I’m a paramedic, some nights

disappoint him another time, again and again

call the medical examiner from Western

tell her you’re tired of feeling your heart beating

went to the counter to return my disenchantment

but I lost my copy of the receipt

in the clutter of the torn-up basement

her idea of fun includes eyeballs sliding

from sockets, dangling by optic nerves

you try too hard to understand the recipe for—

I told you how to love her

when the seasonal memories come on, 

demanding the keys to her city before laying siege—

the outbreak of Plague makes it easy but

I told him how to love me

plugging music in my ears, placing pencil in my hand

all to banish the despondency 

you never like to see

the only space I ever commanded

that bathroom on 129th avenue, you know

the one with the extra-small stalls for hiding sick bodies

reminds me of the pocket of time where

he drank himself to death in his mother’s house

you could hear the woman snoring down the hall

while we undressed on the leather couch

under the cover of shattered hearts, no blankets

I didn’t care if he lived or lied—

you expect him to rescue you from seasonal 

tragedies, the ones that come with the changing leaves

yellow orange red but not green

he’s just another ambiguous pronoun in the story

string them along the way I used to

design necklaces with glass beads

she asked me why I was so sad

in the night, I wrote the answer on her back

inebriated, she didn’t notice the names

scrawled with fingers on the fabric

now I’m composing broken lines at red lights

it takes six years, they say

to cleanse your policy from my brain

since then, I’ve learned new terminology

post-resus care: screaming until I taste 

blood in the back of my throat,

ears ringing & body numb with psychological gunshots

resounding, always re-sounding

the scenes you will write to forget

I tried explaining this in Spanish

but the language barrier kept the audience unaware

it’s not my story, I won’t pretend otherwise

to have saved, on our fourth mensiversary, a dying man’s life

he climbed in the ambulance after the fact

directed all his conversation to the passenger in the back

there was rain on the windshield, I think

but, even in the black yawn of early morning, 

there were autumn leaves blinding my vision

I realized the tragedy in loving the man

when every season, the trees will bloom again

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