Thank you for the poem,
the one about the first time
any man I loved
could look at my loneliness and know
from the inside
what it means to live outside America, in
America,
about what it felt like to
clasp hands and tell each other
about the words in our languages,
about maps, about the places our families arrived here from,
carrying ribcage xylophones, thank you
for sinking your teeth down
into my honeydew heart
and filling me with salt,
for the night that I looked back into a lover
who saw me, thank you
for putting your hands in my hair
and saying, “I know,” and knowing
Thank you for knowing
what I meant
when I said diaspora, when I spoke of being
a disobedient daughter
when I was afraid of what the police would do
the night they arrested my darker cousin,
for knowing
my homeless heart, my Cornelian heart,
my sweet, sugary heart, my heart full of
pálinka and paprika,
my heart that comes from nowhere, thank you
In the mornings I used to lay against your back
draping my light olive arms
over the sand of your flesh
like going home
again and again

Even now,
alone,
I have what is left of you:
My most beloved of all my poems
to help me carry
the months I was loved
by a man
who could know, in my thirty-five years,
the first one, the only one,
thank you
Someday, when time dries the threads of us
so brittle, I cannot remember why either of us left,
when I am not sure anymore
what your hair ever smelled like,
I will remember perfectly
writing that poem
in your bed
the morning you left early
and returned less and less
I will love that poem
I will imagine you gripping my hands
from the inside of a blue whale
that swallowed me whole
knowing
I was once seen and loved,
both at once, once

Apocalypse carnival mistress, essayist, and animated story maker. orderoflostthings.com