I moved to Quebec to escape the unsteadiness –
to be saved and reborn from the late, late nights
and early mornings of theft,
of credit cards and shopping sprees,
lathered in Xanax and distancy.
That summer I stole 37 items from your home
and Cookie was my director,
my partner in crime.
My roommate had a Sworkowski crystal
that fit so well in a brown leather jacket,
where I hid everything from you.
I had a talent in turning dresses inside out and withholding
orange and blue pills that would fit well
in poetry readings in the bath.
You remember the times I would spend 45 minutes
behind stained glass and how you were never invited,
like you used to be.
It is a consistent counting and recounting,
a loss of things internal –
where your psychiatrist has become your drug dealer
and he’s on speed dial,
because he’s your favorite person to call.
I had a dream of you last night,
it was what you told me the other day-
I saw in you what was once in me,
and I was present and aware and
you were unsteady and awake;
you never slept.
Before you fell out of love,
it was easier for me to close my eyes
and lay next to the soulmate of that year or this year –
it all started colliding together and men and love
made no sense anymore.
That apartment you rented in Old Quebec was dark;
we had no windows and no light.
You were always away, cooking –
dreaming of dreams to become
an acquired taste my tongue never recognized,
or cared to.
In you, I saw an evilness –
I was staring in a mirror
where my hole had become your hole,
and we were falling into this empty piece of earth together,
yet so apart.
I used to look through your closets when you would leave;
It was evident that this was not your friend’s apartment
and the furniture you said you unpacked
from your storage unit
was just a free couch,
listed on craigslist.
When the cops took me away that night,
I swore it was you who should have been arrested.
I saw you through that coffee shop,
grabbing your backpack that I had run off with
and distancing your eyes from my glance,
so I would not see the hands
that once ran across every part of my body,
and then used so angrily,
to choke me.
Your Uncle had secrets I could not ignore,
but you would hand me Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sweet Lady Jane
and I would misjudge and refute
all of what my best friends and neighbors saw in you,
that I could never see.
I learned you never planned to marry me –
and all those contracts we’d sign about love
was just bullshit and pity and a way to leave a dog and a girl
that had outgrown you and left you, far before
you ever left them.
You were an art dealer, a poet,
you knew about history and your intellect was so deep –
You would lay down a white sheet in our second bedroom
and paint all night,
and the colors were vibrant and profound,
but they soon turned red and ravenous
and that girl Vanessa,
became your one true love,
as Adderall became my only thought.
I want to say your name,
but I won’t speak it.
You being private and secluded – you introduced
me to Simon and Garfunkel and “I am a Rock” was your song.
I should have known you were an Island,
You touch no one and no one touches you.
It was a theme, that was born in Playa Del Rey
and ran its course down Lincoln Avenue –
It was never about the baking,
or the fact you loved Sharon Olds;
It was never about the poetry I used
to make every boy fall in love with me.
It was always something else,
it was never you,
it was the void,
it was the pain –
it was the mirror, the kratom, the park, the flowers –
it was the bowling alley and the sushi,
the key lime pie and the frozen Miracle Whip,
it was the welcome statue of a dog,
it was the sinking in of family,
it was the graduate degree in Art History,
it was the cynicism and the introverism,
it was the opposite of me.