Our first month, I wrote thirty poems about him. Eyes— deep sea blue, opalescent, kaleidoscope-like and dangerous. Laugh— orchestral, intoxicating, the kind you’d play forever on a turntable if you could loop it on a vinyl. I wrote them consecutively. On gum wrappers, unused fast food napkins I’d saved for later, the backs of my palms under blooming magnolia trees when I felt the words rustle. I couldn’t go a day that April without capturing, in some small way, the essence of him. It was so new. Palpable enough to hold in my hands, a baby bird in need of tending to.
And then they slowed. The words cooled over, became gelatinous, stationary. I feared, for a while, that this reflected what we were becoming: sedentary, passionless, exhausted. I have the tendency of attaching love to the effortlessness with which I write about it. Other matters began flooding the page. Childhood. Sadness. Buried heartache.
When poetry dies, does love die with it?
Sometimes I weep for that April because of how alive the world was to me. It’s addicting— the electricity of having a brand new set of firsts to domino through, knocking over each piece until you end up at the core of a person. You fall in love with someone’s tenderness. And then the comfort of their skin. And then the entire tapestry: secrets, stories, sins. I weep for that April because I miss fumbling with the fabric of him.
But poems live everywhere. They live on paper and on screens and in the way we clutch each other’s frames through tornadoes and panic attacks and days that wound. They live in slow dances and long distance phone calls and in the moments we overlook, where I’m watching the faces he makes while comically singing falsetto in the car, nearly moved to tears.
I think I like these poems better.
The ones that squeeze back, that make noise, the ones where I’m sitting in the passenger seat making him laugh by reaching for Whitney’s high note and failing pitifully, watching the redness flood his face like water.
How that, too, is its own poem.