By Kathleen Fitzpatrick
I didn’t expect you
you know, standing so very tall on my stoop
with arms that looked like, just maybe,
could bridge two of my separate cities together
(they have been existing lately in a yellowed distress).
What an inconvenience you were at first—
looking so good, looking so far away
right there, in front of my face for so long.
You once said, I don’t want us to know
each other’s last names; it’s more fun that way
(I couldn’t catch you easy and I accepted it,
but frankly, what was more fun was eventually knowing).
You standing there—
making me angry,
gifting me a toothbrush,
lying in my childhood bed, listening to a song,
the ancient act of eating French fries at midnight.
You are so bright
you couldn’t even see yourself in my mirror.
I’ve been wanting to wear your hickies on my neck for weeks.
But they wouldn’t look like bruises, no;
more like bursted October poppies
(however, that is something Plath would say),
or half-bloomed tulips
(did you know that I find tulips survive the best in winter? They close up when it’s too cold and open right up again when the sun is more than just a decoration in the sky. (We are tulips but in spring, thriving)).
You, in my bedroom at school—
Waiting for my knocking, answering
almost as if it was a price
(“I knew it was you,”).
Holding you by a white wall and thinking:
I’ve earned it, I’ve earned it
and it is glowing and brilliant.
Just where our torsos meet
there was a collection of
something warm like white noise,
but it wasn’t noise at all.
It was something to listen to if one is patient.
It was still and quiet and I traced all my fingers on your
shoulders and arms reading the threaded brail,
finally understanding, wondering
if my cities you now had keys to were safe or burning?
I could see it was night there, too, and everything slept in a safe place
(with even the stars yawning in a sweet stupor only you could put them in. They kipped in my vision. You could see them shining in me after each kiss, even with my eyes still closed, after all. Couldn’t you?).
Kathleen Fitzpatrick lives in Brooklyn as an MFA candidate among other things. She is to be published in The Southampton Review this spring.