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.