Magnolia

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Magnolia

I carried her to bed
her lips quivering with lies and soft whispers.

I wrote her poems that I wanted to infest themselves in her bones
like a Santorini she would never see.

She’d ask me about the magnolia trees,
scented conversations peppered with the flavors of her marginally short life.

She’d ask me to tell me names of beautiful saints
that I could name my daughters after

and plead with me to describe to her what beach shells sound like
when you press them up against your ear.

As she slept and the magnolias scent prowled their way through the open window,
I sat with scotch on a dock biting my fingernails.

Staring at the various shapes of the moon as they changed
from ovals to crescents to a bleached white translucent angelic glow.

The trees began to skinny themselves of their leaves
and I buzzed her hair that fall.

She wore a silk kimono and we made love
on that afternoon in-between the rains

She made tea and stared at my naked body for hours.
My throat too glassy to talk.

I just ran my hands down her body
and wondered how time feels when chronology stops.

She begged for more poems,
and I wrote about the ice on the Big Dipper

I wrote about the agitated squawks of the crows.
She begged me to read her favorite poems about the magnolia trees in our yard.

The gutted sparrows nest,
the trout pools I waded in, the way you cast a fly.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her right now my poems
don’t feel concerned with winds, or waves, or sad magnolia trees.

Instead I read her poems about what it was like to take her out on the dock
in the early mornings, our bodies wrapped in blankets.

Me- holding her with my arms that ended with chewed up nails.
Those hours I secretly begged for blindness, so I could not read the obituary writing itself.

A poet fluent in four languages
inarticulate as a newborn baby.

All I could think was I don’t know what men do
when love disappears….

when suddenly there’s no suffocation, no heat, no fire,
there’s just blackness, fear, and the intolerable, defiant, poetry
of the sweet smell of Magnolias in bloom.

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