Old Songs

on the phone you ask
who old lyrics were written for
I say my writing is not literal
these are imaginary girls

you ask who are these imaginary girls
I say they are lonely
in imaginary ways they alone imagine
the ways they are lonely

I lay under a dim fluorescent bulb
a soft cotton sheet on my skin
digging a deeper crater in my bed
as in a bodiless void

 

(originally published in Bitterzoet Magazine, 2017)

Sleeping Alone

I spend most nights in the company of shadow,
a universe to toss and turn, mind wandering
in the smell of strawberry shampoo– my sheets,
familiar honey. I sleep in a crater growing deeper
without you. At night, birds are mostly silent.
The occasional siren punctuates air and I hope
you are all right, wherever you are. Without
your orbit, I wake at six and the room burns
me dry. There must be a medical reason for this:
the heart, when under sheets, overheats
but when alone becomes so cold, to sleep
too long is dangerous, and the temperature
drops to near the threshold of memory– my hair
mussed in darkness by my pillow’s imitation
of what your hands might do
if they were here, wanting to be held again.

 

(originally published in Freshwater Literary Journal, Spring 2017)