i tell our stories to the leaves and hold them in
my fist balled tight
encased in skin
to never lose them i don’t let go
but gradually the color changes
i feel their death
fall between my fingers in pieces.
Each piece flutters for a second upon wind currents but falls to the ground. The first lays down and I watch it grow wings.
A blackbird. Sitting on the rooftop, I shook in your arms and we listened to the clouds play the harp of the moon.
A finch. That fall day. Only orange leaves fell and your fingers plucked them from the air. Fingertips touching on the table top. I saw my first fireworks that day.
A crow. When you opened the door in the middle of your ribcage and the crow flew into my mouth, I swallowed it, tried to bury it from you forever.
Fleming. The one that followed us in Nepal. I counted 1000 stairs and beat you at cards. But at night when sleep would elude me i’d come lay on your side of the room and your arm would sneak around my waist. Hello again, I missed you, you always said before falling back to sleep. The sun stole night from us over the Annapurna range, dancing in between mountain tops, reflecting off snow, and gliding down the spines, taunting with the playful warmth of morning. Machapuchare, the only name we could remember. Driving along seventh east to your parents house. We always see it in the distance. The distinct devil horns of shiva rising from it’s back.
The vulture. Upon the same wind that flipped our tent over. I thought I forgot the propane so we cooked over the fire. You introduced me to cheddar bratwursts, The wind turned our tent over, I kept hearing running footsteps in the flapping of the wind against the walls.
The albatross. I caught my first fish. You caught one at the same time. You taught me to gut them and we ate them for dinner.
Hummingbird. The tears that hover above the bed when I stop pretending a bird hasn’t been beating the inside of my skin. Clawing to get out, it’s your crow, I catch it between my teeth it beats at my lips. I don’t give it back to you. I never sleep well in your bed because I can’t help but lie right next to you and wingbeats keep me awake.
Owl. I check every day to see if I have a postcard from you.
Heron. You catching my eye from the stage and smiling.
Lark. I screamed at you. Told you that if I couldn’t be who I was I couldn’t do it and you apologized.
Egret. You covered the floor with candles. A burning lake. We danced with the flames and you spun me until I was dizzy. Then lay me down tracing my skin with fire.
Pelican. I held onto you and forgot that my hands knew how to let go when I looked up at you I saw you looking at me too and I disappeared completely when my lips became yours.
I saw the crow just behind the looking glass of your eyes. Stumbling over feet that have grown too big for you with time you grow larger. A net trails behind you as you try to catch every bird. A wild predator.
You only caught the hummingbird but the holes in your net are too big. I take it from you. You pluck a yellow leaf from the air as it falls past.
Hello again, I missed you.