I Tend to Think Forgiveness Looks the Way It Does in the Movies

— Hanif Abdurraqib

like two white people kissing in the rain & it is always

white people kissing in the rain on television & it is a question

of hair, I imagine. the things too precious to be given over

to the illusion of vulnerability. I have paid my tithes in this church,

though. drawing my desires long through a city of millions with wet

sneakers & dying flowers exploding from tissue paper & I have emerged

from this shrinking heaven half-drowned & with a heart molding

at the edges & speaking of the heart, I love most what it is until it decides

it isn’t. first a weapon & then not. first a mirror, wherein you see yourself briefly

whole & next to someone else who is briefly whole &> then not. I am talking about the end

of love—how the door closes one night & never re-opens. The coffee mug left

with a lover’s unshakable stains in the bottom & the single fork from the infant night

in the first shared apartment & all of the relics we have to craft the leash used to keep

our misery close. what I meant to say about kissing in the rain is that it seems

to be about a mercy that I cannot touch, for what the water has been known to undo &

what of myself I might see in the wake of its undoing. Mercy, like the boy pulling back

a fist as the small stray dog below him trembles with its eyes shut. Mercy, that boy then walking

into the arms of his mother, who once dragged him from a home ransacked by a man’s

violence. Mercy, the city unfolding its wide & generous palms over your skin the way a city

does when it opens itself up & waits for darkness to pour into its open mouth & you, too, wait

for the night to spill itself into your echoing terraces of grief & call you outside & tell you

that it is almost your season, darling. it is almost the season of your favorite flower & the

burial ground giving way to its tiny & exploding lips & how they exist for you & no one else


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