Matchbox Promise

A matchbox promise written with purple ink

The sun swimming in its scarlet cauldron of sky

An expanse of wing with delicate bones

As if meant to graze clouds rather than to fly.

 

Sticky whispers and clumsy kisses on the beach

That night in August

A heat heavy as stones

Expectation feather-light in my chest

How the cicadas hummed

How the sand clung to my dress and legs

The sound it made falling out of my shoes

When I took them off later that night

Like the rustle of leaves, or the hiss of a snake.

 

A hazel eye I wanted to draw,

Wanting to freeze its color, the honey-drippingness of it .

 

Nights spent ignoring an obstinately silent telephone

With this premonition caught on the fringes of AM

With this sweat clinging to my shirt

And the metallic taste of nightmares

Heavy on my tongue.

 

The name of a girl I used to hate

The color of her strawberry hair, the cloying scent of it

The name of a boy I used to adore

Its narrow letters adorning an old matchbox.

 

The way my stomach caved in on itself

When he told me he'd fallen for somebody else,

Someone with hair the color of strawberries.

 

The taste of my father's forbidden vodka

The smack of lips and the red mark my mouth made

On the last letter I ever sent you

That night I got too drunk.

 

Words written in blood

Words hurled like stones

Exploding upon impact, breaking skin.

Words I came to regret years later

Holding the ashen remains of them

In the palm of my heart.

 

Infatuation gone up in flames

Literally and figuratively and every way in between

Photographs letters tapes thrown into the bonfire

In a ritualistic cliché of every-affair-gone-wrong.

 

Years later while cleaning I find a matchbox

With a number and a name written in purple ink

Accidentally though perhaps on purpose saved from fire

 

Its promise still making me catch my breath.

The End

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