outside the restaurant, rain slicks red brick
with its leaving. the girl & i lean
against this wall, watching maple trees bow
their heads as if trying to sing—
the gesture small but certain. a man
pulls out of the parking lot in his small red car,
turning off the headlights to ride
into the dark, his hands steering
themselves. the engine
weeping. for years i covered
my ears while i spoke,
afraid of what i might discover if i listened.
sometimes sound gives us too much:
like how across the street a man
with dark hair & pale skin plays
the nocturnes of chopin on a street
piano, squeezing his eyes
shut, as if remembering.
in every song he plays
i, too, find something
in myself: the girl—each note a crease
of soft skin—her fingers still clinging
to my coat. each note a blue vein
inside her wrist rippling like water.
what a child learns when bathing
themselves for the first time:
how to wake, to see the body’s want
for what it is—what it has been. the girl presses
her cheek against mine.
for the first time, i understand why
i move closer,
my lips grazing her neck.
Read more from Issue No. 25 or share on Facebook and Twitter.