peter

i thought you were
invincible, until
the day you showed up
with a cut the size of
a door nail on your
forehead

you were snowmobiling
without a helmet
the fear of death
manhandled me
the way the waves
did one summer
choking on seaweed
and salt

your hands are always warm
they brush my hair back
tucked behind
my ears

i remember them
cupping your mouth
every september
on the sidelines, you yelled
you were always there

i wish i could
stand on the tallest mountain
and yell until my belly bursts
until the world around us
knows how incredible you are
how important you are

so they stop
driving you insane
on the highways

ricotta and jam

i met a girl
at a coffee shop
in europe
i said hi

we got to talking
she said it’s time i get out of here
but i don’t know where to go
i said the same thing
to myself yesterday

follow your heart
what else could i say
her half smile, a crescent moon
her dark eyes, nothing special about them
she fixes her hair
her words flat:
i can’t take that advice

because my heart built a home
in a polished seashell
the one that lies on the coastline
of a ruined city
seventeen hundred miles away

disguised as a lipstick stain
on the rim of a red solo cup
filled half way with liquor
half way with lust
lust at a frat party
i am a passerby

it makes hootch
in the rainforest
and dances to the sound
of languages it can’t understand
makes love to flamenco
in cobblestone alleys far away in the past

i always forget that
it sits idly in this coffee shop
waiting for visions to become words
ten thousand words, ten thousand more
my fingers like rocket ships

my heart takes rest in a city
blooming in frondescence
wrapped up in auburn curls
curls that do not shed, i shed

underneath a sticky bar mat
in a busy city center late night
conversations of substance, or not
company of substance, or not
i’ll make you a white russian
with my eyes closed

my heart salutes the sun amongst the Joshua Trees
a place where it never rains
my heart hallucinates
the clouds put on a show
i could stay,
what happens if i stay
if i leave
do you see?

if i follow my heart
ill be stretched so thin
my skin will blanket the galaxy
my bones will float mid air

if i follow my heart
my elbow will live in France
while my toes march the rockies
my lips will sing country songs
in dive bars and dorm rooms

my ass will sit on a train
with a one way ticket to nowhere in particular
just because the thought of starting over
tastes as sweet
as this ricotta and jam
this ricotta and jam, have you tried it?

i have
how’d your heart get there
to all of these places
the wind, i guess.
maybe you should follow the wind, i said.
maybe i should follow the wind

citrus winter

one day I’ll tell you
about the citrus winter
how it made me shiver
had to shed skin
to find a thicker layer
I’ll tell you about
the tips of the pines
how they came to resemble
my heartbeat lines
I’ll take you to september
where we’ll flirt with the coast
and the nicer weather
remind you not all souls will
dance together forever
I’ll show you the creatures
who light up the sea
in a part of the world
with bare feet and fruit trees
we’ll meet a girl named Jessy
who sews and makes tea
one day I’ll tell you
what it feels like to sleep next to
the man of your dreams
wake up hungover
too much wine,
too much cheese
one day I’ll show you what I mean by
you are the most beautiful thing
making maps out of freckles
swinging our hips
you’ll never feel like
you have to give anything to him
one day I’ll tell you
about the click of my heels
down foreign city streets
in a place as surreal
as the corner of your heart
where I’ll live the rest of my days
citrus winter, wild summer
tasteful spring, auburn fall
you and me
through the thick
of it all

– to my future daughter