by Claire Seymour
Someday I'll ask you about the climbing roses Second Place Winner
on your childhood tree house, the honey clot clouds
of Midwestern skies, the drained pool in your garden.
Someday I'll ask you about your summers in Maine,
how you dug for gold in freshwater streams, torn fishing nets,
Watching the lobster boats bobbing up and down,
slick yellow gloves and the clumsy song of the sea.
Last I remember, your eyes were a little bit
like Maine, the sound of heaving ropes
pulling buckets, cold stars blinking slowly.
I'm not sure when you'll be back,
but I hope you won't miss spring break in Florida,
because you always loved the smell of oranges
the blue nights galloping away into morning,
and even the cold showers in highway motel rooms,
buying lemons from the side of the road.
Remember last spring, the bee stings on your mouth?
I couldn't have kissed you if I tried.
Your last postcard was from Nevada,
and I just hope that you're still watching
local news channels to bring up their ratings,
and arranging sunflowers in soda bottles,
dreaming of oceans freezing over and
pulling planets out of magicians' hats.
Maybe you'll write me a song on the road
about the time you tried to read my palm
and swore that my love line was the most
beautiful thing you had ever seen,
like a map straight from the human heart,
you said. I hope you'll keep sending
me polaroids and doodles from the Muppets,
sea glass you find on the coast and bracelets
from pawn shops in Wisconsin.
These days blend into each other
and I swear December isn't the same without you.
I try to drown in my comforter and I dreamt
you were waiting for me at the bus station,
skin gleaming with traffic lights, eyes bright
like the one million cities you've visited.
Last year, it rained for eleven straight days.
I said it was the end of the world, and you promised
to gather the Caribbean islands for me,
swore that you would bottle up the desert,
my own never-ending golden September.
When you come back, we'll welcome insomnia,
drive too fast in your white car, the night stretching
like forgiveness, and we'll drink coffee
at two in the morning, our mouths starving.
I'm always listening for your name in songs
about blue eyes and waiting,
and I'll fall apart if I let that linger
in my mind for too long.