And it was gold when you stood.
Not like the gold from an infomercial playing during a
Laverne and Shirley rerun on antenna TV,
begging bats to donate all the bracelets
dangling off wrinkly white wrists
but the gold I always imagined
Neverland would glitter with.
Neverland, or my best friend’s wedding.
There’s a sharp green line between the two, you know.
I was a strawberry growing in the ground
and you wanted to step on me and
make me bleed out because
I lived where nothing is real
and you know how easy it is to breathe down here.
You would have crushed me into
intellectual property pixie dust
but you saw that I was fading
and you clapped because you believed
and because you believed, I believed
and I believed in we.
How wonderful life is
and how sweet it is
to be loved by you.
I knew that’s what you were hungry to hear
but my voice wasn’t very pretty to you.
So low and so Stanwyck.
I remember we walked through the park
and I tugged on your arm and told you to
look at the butterfly as it floated past our disaster-keen eyes
but you bent over and picked up a twig instead,
twirled it in your fingers like a baton and called it
The sun was going down and the sky was turning
from violet to blue and I suppose that was when I should have known
but I couldn’t make myself know
because I am a creator and we are in the dangerous habit
of preferring our own brush strokes.
I wanted to keep you lilac
because cornflower washed out your skin
but Lord Jesus painted you and I must let you go.
We fogged up car windows
with our breaths about this world of unicycles and of Aphrodite
and though I wanted our breaths to sync up and get closer
they never did.
Your thigh was always grazing mine gently, softly,
always grazing but never there for me.
I am not the one you would meet
atop the mountain.
You had not loved me.
And yet you had loved me.
Not like a $5.49 supermarket checkout novel
with ripped bodices and heavy breathing
that would fog up the car windows
with prayers of gratitude to Aphrodite—
with prayers we never did whisper.
But you had loved me
as one loves taking a pillow from home
on the road and smelling it at every one-stop-cheap-ass motel
in the middle of nowhere, sometimes USA
and smiling sleepily because it so carries that scent called
You had loved me like that pillow
and we never shared a pillow
and I guess I’m going to have to live with that.
Lord Jesus painted you and I must let you go.