an ode to our almost-romance

why i still think of you, i can’t quite tell

but that summer, i rode my bike each morning
before the world had woken up
to that little house by the
wood-fired pizza place

we built that house, or rather, you did
while i learned to drill a few screws,
use tin snips,
and drink yerba mate from an old
mason jar

on the lake, in your canoe and
along the path, you point out
all the plants,
crush leaves
in your hands and bring them to
my nose
“spicebush,” you tell me, smiling
so i can see the little gap between
your two front teeth

and there, right off the lake
on the branch of the giant sycamore,
we built that swing with scrap
lumber from the house and you
tried to put your arm around me

i think the swing is still there

do you remember what the difference is
between a yam and a sweet potato?
over pizza, we discussed and to this day,
at the grocery store, when the clerk asks me
“is this a yam or a sweet potato?”

i think of you

-A

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At Great Falls Park

The two turkey vultures
held our fascination
for a bit

in a morbid,
can’t-look-away
kind of way;

but we all watched the crane
silently glide through the water
for what could have been an hour:

the satisfying crunch
as it bit down into a crayfish
or do you say crawdad?

the satisfying echo
of the ice chunk
hitting the frozen canal

the satisfying kiss
at the pub after
in front of my friends and yours.

-L

A Playlist of the Music that Boys Play in Cars

1. Suedehead by Morrissey

at midnight I am awake on the carpet
watching the ceiling fan spin round and round
while I listen to his mixtape
in the bedroom at my parents’ house

Morrissey is strange and new
but again, so is he
a year older than me
teaching me what couples do

but Morrissey makes me uneasy
like it makes me uneasy to
kiss him in the back of the movie theatre
when I really do just want to watch the film

2. Mr. Brightside by The Killers

nothing about this feels exciting or right
riding shotgun with him to the movies
with my favorite band’s songs playing
since he somehow knows that I like them

I am so much older now
this seems like what to do
towards the end of high school
to prepare for future dates

but just yesterday in Spanish class
after I tried to turn away
he would not stop touching me under the desk
watching my face for my panicked reaction

3. Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

at noon we are riding through our college town
running errands I hate to do alone
while I put on my favorite song
and we both enjoy singing along

Stevie Nicks is familiar
her voice cozy, like him
a year younger than me
teaching me how to be friends

my favorite song makes me feel light now
like it makes me feel happy to
have someone who shows how much he cares for me
with no hidden motives or expectations

4. She Smiles For Pictures by Big Trouble

there is a sadness I cannot tap into
riding shotgun with him in his old car
with his favorite band’s songs playing
since he wants me to enjoy them, too

I am so much older now
this feels like what to do
when you love in college
and want it to last so long

but the next time we sleep together
after letting more go unsaid
I will realize trust makes a relationship
feeling our friendship break from what we won’t share

5. Tricky to Love by White Lies

this is not a song I would normally like
but I decide to listen just the same
because I want to know his interests
after I have just shared some of mine

I have never felt so sure
that this is how it goes,
it should be this easy,
that when you know, you just know

by the time we reach my apartment
we have decided our next date
and as he gently asks if he can kiss me
I can see that it was always worth the wait

-L

Saturdays in November

no fanfare
but small things

like you singing your favorite song to me
and us lying with the cat in between
and me insisting we should have turned there
and you laughing as we walk the wrong way

one hand is clutching warm tea
and the other is holding yours
and the world around us is shining golden and brown
and the birds overhead are surrounded by a perfect blue

I think I know this feeling
though I’ve never used the word

-L

Natural

she told me:
it ebbs and flows

today I observed two monarchs
in someone else’s garden
and I thought about calling you
but I decided to keep it to myself

(you laugh when I tell you the moon is my favorite celestial body
but I think you understand
because your favorite part of our weekend
was driving home in the twilight
when the sky was deep blue and silver
and the countryside dark and still)

so today I choose to observe alone
but I know that maybe tomorrow
when the cold wind brings me nostalgia
I will tell and you will listen
even if you do not fully understand

-L

Cool Air

You drive
and I’ll look for wildflowers
to stop and identify along the way.
Maybe I’ll sketch the Blue Ridge
and you’ll ask me to navigate
but I’ve decided to abandon control with the city.
Keep heading South
and let me call you darling.
I promise to write poems about you
if you promise not to turn around.
You feel like home
and I know you like the life you’ve built here
but I love it when you take me far away.IMG_9098

 

-L

and so now, we enter something new

one year ago

over oatmeal in the morning,
we sat close so our knees touched

and in your truck, i held your arm
as the mountains flew past

or, as we flew past the mountains

today

you kiss me goodbye as i head out the door
and though it is quick, it remains
tender

i make dinner in the skillet,
burning my thumb

you bring me ice
and clean up the dishes

and so now, we enter something new

-A