When I held you on my tongue
like a snowflake like a slice
of Thanksgiving turkey,
I didn’t save room for coffee.
Everything around me changes slowly:
continents drift, a dog’s metal dish fills with rain.
I order a latte to go but I’m staying.
You text I’ll be home soon.
If you keep talking you’ll lose your voice.
If you keep living you’ll die.
On election night I found a fly
drowning in my wine. I held
its drunken body on my finger
and remembered when we met.
The dog tied to the parking meter
falls in love with everyone.
How sweet, how dumb.
Sleep, wake, repeat.
I’m locked out of my house.
You left the lights on.
We wanted to eat baguettes and jam.
We ate baguettes and jam.
Then the slow descent out of you—
You said your heart was a mule.
You said your heart was an Easy Bake Oven.
You said your heart was a silver grape.
The ocean was something we could fall into—
You said the word ‘careful.’
You said the word ‘self.’
Can’t help but reduce us—
You, naked, throwing a glass jar onto the kitchen floor,
and me, in my makeshift bed, pretending—
As if I have no body, as if I am a brain, passersby’s eyes focus behind me. It begins to rain. A man asks for change. Wanting change, I have the change I do not want, change I cannot seem to make. Clouds migrate at the pace of a car backing out of a driveway. I can fit what I need in a suitcase. The city tests its sirens each Wednesday: we’re not at war we were at war we could be at war. I set my watch.
Patrick Dundon lives and writes in Portland, OR. His poems have recently appeared in Toad: The Journal. In the fall, he will be an MFA candidate at Syracuse University.