We’re where you think we are, fumbling through the white rocks of the creek bed, cutting through the wind like free reeds in open drawers. We ran down here from the bedroom because we decided it was time enough for a walk and that we may as well go someplace cold and aching while we still have the chance. Before that we’d been in one long piece under the floorboards smudging into eachother while some cartoon carried on in the background, giggling apologies in the warm winter air. We’re both sick. My nose is running and I’m worried that it might stain your shirt, but you tell me that you’ll have to do laundry afterwards anyway (socks, surely) so just let it all out. Believe me, I tried.
My teeth feel brittle and I’m trying to remember the shape of your jaw as my fingers leap from one bruise to the next before falling into the still water underneath, the two of us tracing little circles between the worms and ripples. Your brassy cheeks are stretching imitations of the dobsonflies while I feel around for our shoelaces. I tell you something you already know and you spill out a secret you knew you couldn’t keep. Then we tie up and walk away, up to hill towards the mailbox, and we tell eachother this is where and nothing else. I’ll see you in a minute.
It was New Years Eve and we couldn’t say anything, because neither of us had figured the other out. I liked to think then that we were both better off, but then months down and later on cutting holiday designs into baking trays and wrapping sheets and everything seems to be right and carefully arranged. I’m so happy you’re alive. They found you underneath the sink overloaded with pink and yellow press-on dots, you sent me a letter and I cried through a few others. I take your fingers in my hand and curl them around the memory of my spine, imagine little hellgrammite shapes across us and try hard not to move. I’ve got nothing else I can do. I watch you sign your name up and down and imagine a reason.
I remember sitting on the floor next to your bed, being held very still as the TV flickered primate shapes at us through the green-black screen. If I move, something will go wrong, get unplugged, and you won’t be able to show me. Then later an agent of masks and slate gray polish while I sat ashamed behind you struggling to remember somebody who you weren’t because I hope it might make things easier for one or both. In he loft next to the dog while a snake and a falcon fell off the stage. I’m sure you let it happen but I’ll pretend alongside you so we can say it’s all for fun. Pasta in a plastic container and a fork run circular through a couple shapes. I’m so grateful and I don’t know what to say. Another time on the kitchen floor crouching over a red spot, gripping hard the handle off the carving knife that made you cry with all my callousness. I’m so sorry.
I look over to you without thinking. You’re somewhere else but I think I still know the way. You’re long and thin and drawn all over, but I can still look in your eyes and see myself. You lift both your arms over your head to show me your collection of gossamer chains, gentle lacework binding you all together, so beautiful and trembling with flies.