The Last Man I Loved Was a Woman
You asked if the last man
I loved was a woman.
She was a brush
where the red sun
fell into our laps, an aircraft I shot
into history. Everything felt warm like waiting,
alight with cobwebs, unseen and alive
in their absence. In the countryside,
absence filled entire houses, cut families out
of construction paper, stick figures went missing
on the way to a plate of dinner.
Our house swam up
like a goldfish, asking.
Now, my mother asked
if my father loved men.
Did he love them more than this,
was that it.
He must have loved
a question mark so much
it was no longer allowed by the heart.
Whatever I am allowed makes a memory.
You visit the green hills. They are new every year
like an annual sale, half-off and free. Here
is everything untouched,
and break and bring
the stranger of your body back home.
You long to look at distance, sometimes beyond.
Sometimes the car fades away. But the road remains.
You know there are other homes in the wideness of the low world.
O beautiful for unbelievable bodies
how they swam beside each other
on the beds of America.
In snatches of incandescence,
could you sense that this was not
a single longing but lifetimes
of caterpillars, how
families of goldfish
came alive in our fast motions.
How far we both have traveled
to unite here in dappled heat,
slowed at the foot of the bed
where our sweaters lay piled
a touch of rainwater seeping in,
all the coolness that seems now worth
reaching for the pipe drip
under which we met, over what seemed
to be hours and years at once.
Today was stolen and rented
among clangs of radiators,
orchestral squares of urban light
revealing flowered and fruited gestures
of impassioned trespasses,
two citizens, being held
by only one another’s borders.
In the water of our languages
how this country grew suddenly unfurled
and conceivable, and the morning glories
became ours in our arms. 2