In blistering California summer weather,
I think of you. You wear Harvard well,
but whenever I remember you
you’re wearing uniform and there’s dirt
on your face. You look younger now.
I won’t pretend to understand how
the desert didn’t age you, how
of all things it was always the weather
that made you smile. Even now
I think about your face when we dug that well,
grinning wide and still smeared with dirt.
It was the first time I’d ever really seen you
instead of your rank. Do you
ever think about how
you found me once, knelt in the dirt
with a bomb? I could have weathered
anything, but the look on your face was, well,
I remember it. Even now.
I was used to seeing you every day but now
it’s been months since I’ve seen you
face to face and, well,
it’s getting a little old. How
do you expect me to act like this weather
doesn’t make me think of you with dirt
on your face? There’s dirt
here but it’s not the same. Not now.
Out there, all I wanted was for the weather
to change. I just wanted the rain. Didn’t you?
Am I the only one who remembers how
all we could do to stay cool was to splash well
water on our faces? Well,
you’ve shaved, washed the dirt
off your face, but really I just want to know how
often you think of the desert now
that you’re home. I wonder how often you
remember the weather.
It wasn’t all bad. I’ve distanced myself now,
from the desert. But I still think of you,
in blistering California summer weather
He had a bruise painted
along one cheekbone, and scabbed knuckles,
raised and gritty, and he kissed
you like it was a religious experience.
She had too much lipstick and not enough
confidence, and she kissed
you like you were made of smoke.
Nowadays, you don’t kiss
anyone, and you don’t miss the boy with the
split lip and enough anger to
splinter glass, or the girl with hollow
eyes and scars in the crooks of her elbows
but you almost miss
the person you were when you were
If you were weather,
she said to me one day,
You’d be rain, a
I thought at first
she meant that I was
and destructive, but
then she said
No, no, you’re like
a storm in the middle
of summer, refreshing
and new, like
taking that first, ice cold breath
on the first day of winter.
The first thing you noticed about her
is the way she tucks her hair
behind the shell of her ear,
like she’ll hear better by
drawing the curtain of
hair out of the way.
The second thing is the
way she chews her pen,
like it holds the secrets
to the universe.
The third thing is the
birthmark on the small
of her back, and the way
she shivers when you
brush your fingertips over it.
The fourth thing is the way
she smells when she’s just come in
from the rain,
like spring and cut grass and,
The fifth thing is the
way she can only whisper
that she loves you
in a darkened room, like it’s
only meant for your ears.
poetry is like dreams
the really important ones
only matter to the one
He finds her on the floor
of their bus, barely warm,
tell tale tourniquet wrapped
around her arm like an
embrace. She is pale,
clammy, and so
still she might as well be
a pillar of salt, and for
a second he knows
she’s gone. She’s in
some far off country
of her own choosing.
For the first time since
picking up a needle,
Sometimes, when there’s no one else around,
I sit in your chair, drink from your mug,
wear your shirts. I pretend you’re still here,
I pretend you came back.
I read your favourite poem, I remember
just one line.
(Sometimes I think I made it up inside my head.)
It rattles around in my head, and
I pretend it has meaning, pretend it’s not
just the words of some poor mad girl.
I do a lot of pretending
these days, it seems, and
though I can’t pretend that you never left,
I can’t help but feel that I too
should have loved a thunderbird instead
oh my god julia WHY WOULD YOU EVEN
you are six and you look
at the crown on your father’s head.
you don’t understand.
you ask if maybe one day you’ll wear
your father laughs and something
in your chest laughs with him
you are sixteen and you look
at the crown that your father no longer wears
keeps locked up behind glass.
you wonder to yourself if only a trophy king
has a trophy crown, but now you’re more interested
in the chapped lips of one of the serving boys
at the party (maybe you’re a cliché, but like father
like son, you think)
you are twenty six and the dark laughter
in your chest is all you can hear sometimes.
you still kiss boys, but you no longer
want to be king
the day you realise you’re living for enjolras
is the day you die with him.
it’s ironic, you think. in a way,
at least. turns out no one cares
about your lonely soul either, R.
i fucking knew someone would give me remus. i fucking knew it.
It takes you three weeks to stop
tensing your muscles every time a car
drives past. It takes you three months
to stop making enough tea for two.
It takes you three years to
forget what he smelt like in the morning
(like parchment and cinnamon and sex)
You could live without him for
thirty milleniums and you’ll always
remember the look on his face when
you told him you loved him.