Roommates

Tonight I crawl into your bed with you
and cry myself to convulsions,
and you say nothing as the earthquake
in my chest rocks us silently in the dark.

“Are you okay?” you ask, and no, I’m not,
I’m shaking my head like an aftershock.
I can’t talk. And you try to hold me still
as I try to hold myself together.

I want to tell you
that he’s different from us, you know.
He doesn’t have tectonic plates
beneath the skin, a ring of fire
in his eyes, or a fault line
in his nervous system,
like we do.
He’s different.

He’s not like us,
we’re so close, soul sisters
best friends,
almost lovers.

What does he have that I don’t?
That gives you solid ground at his home?

But I cannot speak,
I cannot breathe through the tremors,
So you stroke my hair until I calm,
And against all odds I survive disaster,
And revived, manage to crawl
back into my own bed,
across the room.

What do I think of your body?

What do I think of your body?

Your body is blood and muscle and bone.
Your body is sweat and tears and profusions.

Your body is a constantly-running
collection of happenings
performed through a million
chaotically-organized
little processes beginning
from the moment of your conception
and ending at the millisecond
of your death.

You body is phenomenal.

The phenomenon of you
for which I cannot
get enough.

Sleeping with storms

You are
tongue tsk-tsking like unexpected rainfall
on a metal roof
sighing and grunting, rolling,
arms out in awkward angles
cracking displaced shoulders,
a loud and somewhat unsettling
sound, like lightning
and your low, rumbling snores
first quiet and slow,
are now crescendoing into
an angry fight for breath,
a manifesto
for the right
to live through the night.

And I am
reminded of evening tempests
from humid childhood summers,
tucked into darkness with too-hot covers,
listening to the nightly cacophony
turned lullaby
of anxious heat
returning to its forgiving earth,
the two reunited,
safe
and loved
and loving
and together in the storm.

You are
facing away from me
so I drape an arm around you
and you turn,
your breathing returns to normal
as you pull me close
into you

And we fall
soundly
back to sleep.

Jessica

Jessica: Rich. God beholds.

Once upon a time,
A boy I felt very fondly for
Told me
You’re cute,
But Jessica,
Jessica is beautiful.

And now,
Years later,
The most beautiful
Boy I know
Tells me,
Karen,
You are
The most beautiful
Girl in the world.

The most beautiful girl
in the world.

And I smile quietly and feel,
My heart swelling into an aching
Pleasure,

A strange pride
I have never felt before
In my 22 years as a Karen

Behold me:
For I am.

Hermione sits in a Starbucks and contemplates institutionalized intimacy

Sing, Muses, of the lust of Aphrodite,
who lives in the the swirling of milk in coffee,
who makes the world spin in sips of conversation
in muffled cafes, where things begin.

Sing, Muses for The Girl who caused the Trojan War,
who was fucking things up far before Menelaus
ever realized his wife was a cheating whore,
who made the mistake of asking for more
sugar in her cappuccino.

Sing, Muses of that baby goddess
who stepped on other’s lives with freshly-formed feet,
who didn’t look down to see the bronze ring
of coffee left on the table when the cafe closed
and a stranger helped her with her coat.

Muses, sing for my mother, Helen,
who grinds coffee beans with her hands
in the home of a younger man, and
who doesn’t hate the other woman,
or my father, who takes his coffee black.

Muses, sing for me, the daughter
who gives away numbers without counting
who visits many coffee shops and drinks lattes
bought by others.

Muses, sing for all the girls
who have caffeine addictions,
who leave wet rings on wooden tables.

Sing for the women with coffee stains on their togas.

Clavicle

There is a young man who broke
his clavicle playing flag football.

The skin traces the healed bone
the way clouds skim the rugged edges of the Himalayas.

I follow the peaks and falls of his past injury with a finger,
try to smooth them the way god smoothed the Tibetan plateau.

I forge a path along collarbone,
find the pinnacle, and pause.

Everest. The highest point
in all of Earth’s surface.