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.