We are always on this trip, always putting distance
between the moments in which we almost cave.
I put pebbles in my mouth to keep it full and quiet,
to keep my loose tongue from unlocking all the things
I’ve stored behind my teeth. I can hear the rattle
behind your locked jaw, I know the rhythm and the rhyme -
and we hum it
Over the summer I grew so sad over you
I let myself get swallowed up in the sunlight,
lying on the floor in my spare room. But winter came
and my bones were too tired to be unearthed so I let the moss
grow over me, and I didn’t mind the darkness or the silence.
But even with all that soil in my throat, your name still sprouted
on my tongue as soon as I rose up and nothing else was loud enough
to drown it out.
There are seasons where my ribs go dark and white
at the same time; bone-dry and brittle like all the half-truths
we’ve used to lay this foundation. I planted forget-me-nots
all along the path I walk when I can’t shake you from this skin
but they grew too fast and followed me everywhere I went.
Call it friendship, call it nothing, call it imagining things
after too many drinks. We can name it whatever we please
but I think it’s time we stop hiding these great trees in our ribs and
let them hear each other.