You take me into your arms
To drain me, steal my name
That you gave me, make it your own,
Regretting the life within me.
I’ve held my breath
In the endless sadness of your eyes.
I cried in your voice and
Cursed the whole world on your behalf.
I woke up with your rage in my stomach.
The hunger due to your withdrawal.
The deracination of my skin,
The pecking at my imperfections.
I remember his absence from the cloud
Of violence, shrill, the memory, the frame
Of the window, the escape, the sight of my knees
That held my head and thoughts.
The orange peels, the remnants of ice cream,
Crossing your yowling lips, the loose slippers,
Hard as a rock, through your feet, the boiling
Temperament, the marshlands of the house.
Your wrath, a stamp on my chin, fingers, clasping,
And I would focus on her, the way she blew out
Her cigarette smoke, as if everything would eventually
Land in the past and we’d grow and run away and rebuild
I’ve never learned to love her more than in those moments,
When we existed in our own worlds and spoke of
New beginnings, eternal, beneath all the fighting and derailment,
We found out who we were and what we were made of
And that, no matter where we were both going, we would
Always have each other, within that smoke that travels up towards the stars.
“Jeanne-Elisabeth de Sellon” by Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-1789)