you said I was like a cat in november
you never stayed long enough to see me in june.
you had a smile so smooth it often
slipped off your face.
you brought me gifts of whiskey and plastic
(how could you think that would be enough)
and i never asked for more.
years ago we played by the ocean,
i wrote you letters in the sand, my footprints
laid end to end
enormous letters you didn’t see then
the tide came in like murder
convinced me to give you six of my nine.
the cups we were to drink from were hand-woven linen
they never held water so
we never did drink.
and i never fought in a desert with you
i never saved your ass
you told me cats were no help anyway.
the wind blew in like horizontal lovers
like you and not me
where were you going, leaving
just an empty cup and a blood-colored
whiskey stain in the middle of my rug?
that day was tuesday, and all the flowers
were dead outside my window.
i read their corpses like tea leaves
the cooling innards of a chicken
i did dead flower voodoo to put an end
to your tumbling, down and
away and away
then i sat in the place you used to be
and set fire to everything
i could reach. i opened,
serotinous, dropping seeds into the ashes
and trying to remember
that the steps also went
up and how to climb them.
the lights came on like drizzle, baby—
the smell of old whiskey
stuck to the carpet
and i try to land on my feet.