It takes a day’s effort to permit laying on the floor
I demand the precision of every to-do-list-item scratched clean
ripping the spine from a tamarind
till it is limp and sticky.
A manic awareness before I shut one eye, then another, then another.
I find you in my father’s studio
I am beginning to piece my life back together
like a timeline in a piece of historical nonfiction, a solar system diagram.
Given this, dad must have been mixing recordings for his students when I was in high school.
It might have been the only night he and you spent time alone.
A mic plugged in, you pressed your fingers against white sax keys,
I remember the gentle clacking tempo,
I could see your fingers dancing in that audible impression.
Listening to you, that is who I was. To listen now?
It’s no doubt deleted.
I’ll ask my dad.
And if not, could I really allow myself to hear
agonizing pauses, once benign sips of breath?
You sent the tape along with the rest of your Harvard application materials in
and were arrested three days later.
The saddest bit is that we did nothing with our time.
You hadn’t picked up the sax with commitment in years leading up to this.
I wrote scraps of ideas down but never refined any of them, too busy
projecting a life’s-worth of needs onto your face, arms, curls, knobby knuckles all mud tonight. And every night.
I spent most conscious hours waiting for you to fill me up
firing energy into something already decayed,
a completely different universe then that of the uncovered pain.