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

a gift.


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

home.

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.