I hoard newspapers, slice out obituaries, and glue
peonies in their place. My elbows smeared with ink,
I stand in the shower for an hour naming
each fish on the plastic curtain before I let myself
remember my blue dress in a tangled lump
on your floor, my thighs wrapped around your waist,
sweat slick on your leather couch. I try to think
of elephants instead. Of museums filled with ice picks
and tea kettles. How each memory is its own little fiction,
that I still believe every one.
I read online that elephants never forget a face. That day, I blacked out
my mirror with a Sharpie and scratched a song
about cancer from my favorite record. Sometimes
when I think of you, I think of rain on a green canoe.
My arms are sore from rowing, from hanging the same picture
of you on the backs of my eyelids each night. From climbing
the trunks of birch trees in my sleep, and pulling my hair
from the threads of your pillowcase.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this isn't an apology.
It's more like a eulogy for the stones that hold down 60 missing
newspaper clippings, and for your grandfather. For the smell
of grass stained into your jeans and a peach sunrise in March. It's a prayer
for every lone wool mitten in the library's lost and found box.
For a ticket to any other fucking town.