your brown leather boots
(that i know you own
because i saw them in a picture)
have been on my mind for days
scuffed leather stuffed with denim
yellow laces double tied
a half inch block heel
i imagine them now
on the grimy floor of a northern rail train
skin inside skin
i haven’t met you yet
but i want to trace the marked leather
with my fingertips
each imprint scratch dent
a testament to the streets they’ve crossed
girls like us walk with calculated steps
(i want to watch you walk
each heavy lift of the leg
each time the worn-off tread
hits the ground
means do not mistake me for anything
other than what you think i am
(but you already know that)
i imagine you
in your brown leather boots
looking out the carriage window
are you even wearing them
are they tapping
(i hope they are)
like my black leather boots
on the platform?
i swallow my SSRI breakfast
text you good morning
hesitate to open the blinds
so as not to disturb the two
mugs idling on my windowsill.
let the paint stain. let spilled tea
galaxies bruise the white wood.
this porcelain memory
must remain untouched.
the platform is hazy with cold
air leaving cold bodies
a bloodless thing journeying
to somewhere warm and living
comes back out a nebula.
i take a mental note to buy
more mugs. i unlock my phone
and don’t type anything.
st peter’s square exhales.
i hug my bag to my chest
think about train tracks and
how i don’t want to die anymore.
the man on the tram scratching
at invisible spiders in his eyes
drops the clear plastic baggy
and i hear porcelain shatter.
i’m glad i’m not the only one
who’s keeping something quiet.
documentary on breadmaking
i saw another movie and we weren’t in it
your buzz cut my finger tips
the screenplay didn’t account for
us building a room
full of birds
up in your attic
i feel wing feathers flitting in my belly
and i don’t think they could catch that on camera
the wonder i house
the humming of my mortal parts
bird flutter beat stop motion:
pick me up in your car light our roll ups
hand in back pocket confessions my
scorpio venus your hands shaking but
never on my throat we are not in the
cinema we spit on them i shave your
head you are all there ever is in mine
i don’t want to be on television
i want to bake bread with you.
sticky dough finger prints on your cheeks
from when i stop the tiresome kneading
to hold your face in the fluorescence
just us and our shadows under kitchen light
i never want to give you crumbs
i want to give you an entire loaf
warm bread on the counter
we bite through the crust
and laugh with our mouths full
recognition of the self and
recognition of an/other
we in this gay club lights ablood lights ablued
romantic comedy special where you have just
almost thrown up from red stripe and weed yet
you giggle for 10 minutes when i call you cute
which means to say i see the undressed button of
your button down shirt i see the unfazed way you
lean back and rest your arm just so which means
to say woman how could i ever want anything but
this this this this this making unstrange this
scraping the suicidal shame from under my
fingernails before i touch you this shifting this
waxing this waxing lyrical isn’t it making the up
to 60 percent of water in your body boil isn’t it
making the skin melt off your musclefleshbone
drop by drop only for you to suddenly revel in the
curl of me licking your tongue to britney because i
don’t know who could witness our drinking each
other and call it poison are they not watching me
mend am i not mending are these stage lights not
chasing each other to teach me how to fluoresce
glow a split second when we kiss am i not readying
myself to witness something yet unknown like you
to me and me to you and me to me and you to you
the morning i was cut from my mother’s belly,
they unwrapped the noose that fed me
before i could scream.
i think children hold fear
in different parts of their body.
my hand used to hold hers like any daughter’s ought to
and when i learned that i was bad,
i held that, too.
when i grew taller than her, i began shrinking.
after each day spent as her biggest regret,
i was needed to massage her feet in front of the tv.
i imagined a stranger’s hands around her callouses
kneading the ball just under the big toe
of her left foot,
her right foot.
i pushed my spine into the back of the sofa
and when the show was over, i washed my hands.
i think children hold fear in the parts of their body
that remain small. the finger bones stretch
and the femurs thicken. but a young bundle of flesh
is still pulsating inside of me.
a tumour the size of a fist
against the stucco of my childhood bedroom.
i won’t cut the sick out of me. i’ll coax it out delicately.
once, a doctor cradled an infant covered in blood
while unbinding its rope of nurture.
let me repeat what took place that morning
with my own two hands.