first, he showed me the block.
waved his hands over black ice,
concrete, gritted
      you know how to make things work

I stepped carefully as he walked
several feet ahead of me.
we did a loop between two identical
intersections and stopped in a booth so
he could pay for the affection:
a vegan milkshake to soften
the contrast between two
nearly identical snow-lit
worlds; two winters in two
time zones but one was green and blue
and foothill-lined
and this one hung in the air:
gelid, tense, a dense and
mutable gray that changed from
partially cloudy to baiting fang
but what is more concerning is the
space between us
I slurped the vanilla coconut cream
from the plastic straw without making
eye contact or anything known
and he laughed at the things
that just rolled off my tongue
in allayed fits.

  it was January fifth,
the middle of a
polar vortex and I hadn’t seen
the center of the city yet,
or west or anything but
I kept mumbling about the
loose trash with no cans
and he smiled, irritated at
my constant observation.
unsure of how to handle
my turbulence in
fractured vocabulary
that I would
eventually learn to craft
and bank
but my nose was running so
I spent the evening
in silence wiping it.

cradled in his iron abdomen.
he mistook each tremor for the chill
settling in; a new house
that is, and I could feel
every sheath around me
crack like I just sprinted,
hit a frozen lake with my
cannonball skull heavy from
the weight of the unending pendulum
    think think think

and pieces of me began
to drop,
and what else?
(this is my 12th house)

 I wake up in his forearm
biting through his moles
to get to you.

“first wave/grief”

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