August 15, 2017

They say, “Remember a time when…”
But I don’t want to.
They say, “Tell us about a memory you have of…”
And I say, No.

For what is memory but moldy meat,
The cold and crusted soup in an unwashed pot,
The greening scum in a dirty cup?

It’s the flowered wallpaper behind five coats of paint.

And yet…

The summer night in mid-August
When we left the theatre and walked down 46th,
The air warm and gentle,
The jostling crowd indifferent and thick.
You took my hand and held it
For the first and last time.

We glided onto a sidewalk choked with tourists
Into a din of drunken shrieks and high-pitched laughter.
We swam against the current of the multitudes,
As they swept past us like fat fishes,
The epileptic pulse of billboard lights
Pummeling us from above,
Like a thousand fluorescent suns.

You slowed and then stopped,
My hand still in yours.
I turned around to see
Your face covered in a moving mosaic of colors.
You asked, Can I kiss you?
And before I could answer, you did.

Your kiss hungry and open,
Your mouth as soft as buttercream,
I whispered a startled “oh,”
As you started to pull away
And then you kissed me again.

Lifted by a heavenly danger,
We walked on without words,
Like two bandits, running in slow motion
Across a forbidden Eden,
Blind to the crumbling cliff edge ahead.

You are the past I long to let go of,
The memory I’d pay to forget.
The beast I buried in an unmarked grave,
The dirt packed down hard.

And yet…

Even now
There is only your face
Covered in rainbows,
Your eyes inside of mine,
And the ever-present, unfortunate truth;

We were made but not meant
to kiss each other,
And to kiss each other again.

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