“this years valentine”
She made the paper for my valentine
from leaves she collected last autumn.
They were much prettier back then,
before icicles froze to the gutters.
This paper of folded sycamore leaves,
wider than the shadow of our kiss,
which not surprisingly does not exist.
Golden yellow ochre,
bleeding deep red beer bottle glass
from twitching veins;
Like watercolor on fault-line maps,
disorienting me into not recognizing
the state I was born.
And she writes words over this confusion
with a blue ball point pen.
She is trying to tell me
she is in love with me—
Every “i” is dotted with a heart.
Her words are sharpened fingernails,
incising the skin on my spine,
pulling it forward,
removing my brutal indifference
as a fancy red corset.
And then her grand gesture has its way with me.
I love her.
I want her.
I miss her like I have missed these leaves.
Fifteen inch sycamores,
stitched together like the fabric of our needs.
You can only walk through a cemetery
before you begin to call it home.
You can only call this woman a friend
before she begins to make you whole.