Lately, I wake up with the shape of your name
bent across my tongue. You live on coffee and
cigarettes, and I find this endearing. (I once
dated another man, years ago, who also lived on
coffee and cigarettes. I did not find him endearing.)
Perhaps it’s because you are so recently a used-to-be that
I think of you this way: torso like a startled scarecrow,
your hair some bemused Batesian mimicry, mottled eyes,
clumps of copper. I wake up with the shape of your name
bent across my tongue, and I do not like to admit this.
I fancy leaving my notebook in your truck to see if you
will flip through the half-thoughts scrawled sharply as
though with a scythe. To see if you will look at me
differently – watery, a little apprehensive, venomous.
The thing is, this is not about you so much as the idea
of you, my idea of you, all detuned and discordant. I
am obsessed with your pin-up tattoos, your incessant
coffee drinking, your hands like vices, hands that should
belong to a surgeon, or a cellist, not some capricious
mechanic. I am also obsessed with blackcats, the
number 14, and the way this will not end. I want you to call
and say, “Everything went wrong today. It all fell apart
and the only thing that will make me feel better right
now is seeing you smile.” You do not say this. You
do not call at all anymore, and I do not like to admit
this, either. When the star V838 Monocerotis suffered
an outburst – a stellar death process – it somehow did
not die. It flared then fizzled, ebbing lightly in suspended
space. I wonder if this is the thrum of our metaphor,
our aborted fairytale, our astronomical cliché.
I wake up with the shape of your name
bent across my tongue, but the final thing I do
not like to admit is that you did not choose me, did
not choose our supernova. And so I begin to think that
maybe instead of us, this will be me: the star that mysteriously
erupts and then fades back into obscurity.
originally published in The Más Tequila Review, Issue #6
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