I am from a defeated town
with deadbeat afternoons,
lawn chairs and lemonade,
and church clothes that cling in the heat.
Our bones are heavy.
I told you, I loved you like
the shimmering but separate rainbow fish swirl of oil in the puddles of asphalt parking lots.
And then I left.
You told me
you wanted to get closer, closer
so we could breath each other in.
And then, like that, three years went by
I was in Philosophy of Ethics when I read your facebook status:
“I LIED. AND SO I’LL BE FERRYING THOSE OF YOU I CAN WITH ME TO THE NEXT WORLD. I’LL POST A BRIDGE BEFORE I LEAVE.”
The Professor went on.
Heraclitus once said, “Everything Flows.”
Plato revised: “Everything changes.”
Your voice sounded like a meteor tearing into earth.
I heard wisps of gold cloud your eyes, when you said,
“I’m high. I’m high. If you don’t love me, I’ll hang myself from the rafters of hell.”
Silence dangled over us.
Later you told me you could feel it
wrap around your neck
like the noose used on your Grandfather.
I didn’t think of that.
I called the police.
I wanted you to be okay.
The officer was kind to me.
His voice sounded like velvet.
Then, for six nights, the stars dried out my eyes.
They warned me–
‘Only the dead shine.’
finally, from Silver Hill Mental Hospital.
It was your Mother’s Bipolar Disorder that got you there.
But it was your Father’s black skin
that made the officer with a velvet voice
think it was okay to hurt you.
I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you told me
he pressed his fists into your gut
and plunged his hands around your neck.
I’m sorry, you had to send me pictures. I still can’t believe you did.
It looked like Jupiter’s rings tried to split you in two pieces.
I’m sorry that I can still drag my fingers across your scars.
I just wanted you to be okay
because I saw a life like hydrangeas and summer sunsets in your eyes.
and I remembered the elm tree where we took branches for seats and traded secrets.
And I knew just segments of your soul,
but I could see you’re bursting with a history and a story.
I just wanted you to be okay.
But he just saw a black body,
said you were a ‘dangerous madman resisting arrest.’