Other People Call That Home\

I may have given you the wrong impression

about me when I kissed you rough while in

the middle of me scrambling your eggs—

I was at war. & I was in love.

You were my first kiss

back in the day when I imagined you

cool & fallible, like God. & me, always

shambling onto wonderful things.

Being a person of color I always felt

sorry for myself, because that’s what America

wants. But like America, you

were never mine.

But I was still supposed to say something. Something.

Like: Don’t worry, shorty—I gotchu. Always.

Only I didn’t. I’m one of those who usually

waits to tell you things, important things, like

when you took my hand & placed it over

your belly & said: Here.

Here was my cancer.

& I could’ve said: I don’t care. I just wanna be

where you go. Only I didn’t.

How you murmured against my leg:

You’re all I have, be good to me.

In the neutral gray loneliness, now. It roils

around me like exhaust clouds. A soulless

stomach my only voice. Can stomachs

listen? No.

Only silence. Silence, like round objects

being thrown when no one’s looking. Silent,

like silence pushing against big windows.

Silent, like my voice being thrown into

a darkened room, crying: Some of us

are afraid.

Some of us are afraid.

Some of us are afraid of dying.

Some of us are afraid of human loneliness.

I should’ve said something. Because you

never hear the ones with the secret things

in their eyes, becoming unattainable islands

in a stream where no one lives, with their black

& white landscapes, & sticky hinges

that always catch on the edges

of last night’s dreams.

I should’ve said something. Before our

faces, our love, our secrets were stuffed into a canvas

bag. Before tying it at the neck with climbing rope,

then dropping it high from a bridge & down

into the river.

Other people call that Home, the way

it—we—moved from low to high, high to low.

I’m just grateful to have drunk from that water

for as long as I did.

Copyright © 1999 – 2024 Juked