on a journey with no map or road signs.
The day you came home with yellow flowers from a desert whose name I cannot pronounce, I vowed to learn how to turn tangible tokens into permanence.
To press those memories out onto the pages until they bleed a stain so deep that no one would forget what happened that summer we swore our promises to faceless gods and left our clothes on the dock.
I wanted to learn to make these memories into flesh, to turn your love into something that couldn’t leave.
There are still words I cannot make without nausea,
sounds that my mouth can’t spit without tasting yours:
My mouth, an explosion of profanity, mornings without curtains, the radio is always on too loud.
His hands, like rivers, winding and constant. The coffee is never strong enough, there is no end to it’s demands.
I don’t know how to write about memory without pressing flowers between pages of guide books for a war I’ve never undstood, without
drinking the ink from my pen to make this moment last,
without tattooing our last conversation to the backs of my eyelids
to make believe we are still looking at the same sky.
The day you came home with yellow flowers from a desert whose name I cannot pronounce, I began to carve all of your features into the walls of my house, without knowing how it would all burn to the ground.
Without knowing how to write about phantoms, imagining a field of wildflowers where there was never even soil for them to grow, only desert,
It’s hard to believe these were the years adults warned us to savor. These were the years we let slip by without much consideration.
Summers so strong it’s hard to believe they’re gone.
There were summers that were more simple, when bicycles could take us as far as we needed to go. When friendships felt breathless and the nights were infinite.
These were the nights we felt too big for that small town and too young for whatever lay ahead.
If only we knew what kind of storm was headed our way.