when we met, you asked me
“why are you wearing your last night on earth like a coat?”
because you knew the future, and the trick was that
you could see all the way to the end of everybody else’s life,
and not your own-
so distracted by nuclear warfare and mid-life crises
that you couldn’t get a proper sentence out.

you carried full cups of coffee behind each eyelid,
and when you’d blink, it made a mess on the floor
always apologizing and swallowing capsules,
dissolving paper between teeth until
it was warmer inside than you’d been in a long time

it was a hard night and I couldn’t sleep
until I could, and all the details I forgot came rushing back
in one sweat-soaked drunk dreaming trip to your childhood home
where I’ve never been, but you took me and said
“I forgive you for everything.”
but there are some dreams that dissolve, sticky-sweet, like sugar
just like there are some feelings that only live in dreams

like the one I keep having where we’re a little younger
and I have the chance to not fuck up, and I still end up
chasing you around town on my bike in giant loops
through the neighborhood
after Jazz Night and half-price drink specials
but this isn’t enough, none of it is enough because
every time I ask you where you’ve been, you answer me
in a language I can’t understand

and it twists all my narratives, all my signifiers
into slanted cursive shapes I can’t read
until they drift through the walls and in the cracks between floorboards
and down into the ground, where I won’t retrieve them
until I’m 22 and trying to put the pin back into the grenade.

when i think about love I think about how the
feature I’m still hung up on is the ugliest one-
your skull, eating away at those big empty Klonopin eyes,
your eye sockets turning huge and dark and sleepless but
when I think about love, I also think about
the piles of dead leaves and how the wind picked them up,
and from the entire horizon they came flooding towards you
and closed around us, sitting on your back porch,
we were so freezing despite the sunshine
and we laughed like hyenas
and I just wanted to suck the sedative from your mouth
and I just wanted to be gone, and so I was, a few minutes later

I used to think Grief was something we had once occupied together,
so vast and empty that our own echos encased us.
we were snow-blind, talking libido and soulmates and platitudes,
plus a promise to never sleep again, not for a month, at least.
except that Grief is a no-man’s land,
where nobody will lick your wounds.
I still don’t know what to call where we were, but it felt like
doing every drug in the world all at once and I’ve never been back since.

I think now that Grief is when you became
some familiar and falling-down house that I was locked out of,
and the lawn was overgrown and everything was
quiet instead of birdsong,
but I still remembered the doorways and hallways and the bones of it,
the tenderness and the rot.
you were waiting outside for me, handsome and inscrutable,
you took a bite of an apple and said
“there has to be a night that never wakes up in the morning.”