The mountain fire waves from the cliff edge
crackling over a dry stump, releasing ripples
of heat built up over months. We flirted for fun,
never touching, not knowing how to break open
bonds like plastic Easter eggs to find sweet candy
to suck on, rare two-dollar bills. But today we burn
the white ribbons in my hair, scrape away grey ashes,
allow the flames to curl around untrained shadows
stretched out, sand figures shifting shape. This magic
circle glows red like the chalice we drank from, like stiff
rocks nearby roasting their faces, like the hole ripped
in the chest of the headless pigeon we found on the climb
up the hill – a harmless creature devoured under swooning stars.
You cover me in silence, fill my veins with the vibrant echo
of wind chimes. The moon titan shines on beeswax sealing
your lips, on phantom lakes bending through space, on green palms
whipped by the summer wind, settling on our skin like dust.
The Two Times I Hated You Most on Our Midday Constitutional
after Aimee Nezhukumatathil
It was your idea to walk up
instead of down
the dirt road going nowhere
& challenge the sun beating.
I should have known your need
would take shadow from me.
And once, the flightless butterfly,
light-struck, dissipated heat
pooling in the blades of our backs.
It captivated me,
through my flaming fingers.
The point of your chin dipped
low to accuse me
of melting its weave of scales,
so that I might know touch.
I never did generate tolerance
that day or ever.