I lent you 

weak-spined paperback books, coins for your bus fare home, 

the defenselessness of my body in late September, eager 

silhouettes playing against peeling paint and dying light.

You lent me 

halves of your sandwiches, chronicles from childhood,

the nape of your neck where I would trace my name 

with my lips to make you appear more real 

to me, more conscious.

I liked to imagine 

shaping you with my palms

like some sort of maniacal artist.

As if you were my pottery, my life’s work, 

that I could shape you however I saw fit,

keeping you on the wheel

to be governed by my movements.

But the body is not clay nor soulless.

It cannot spin forever.

It does not defy inertia.

With you I learned

that the body is only lent in intervals

and then taken back after it is due.

I thought I’d have my whole life

to sculpt you without flaw, but you,

my almost magnum opus,

are my holy unfinished.

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