I have long loved what one can carry.
I have long left all that can be left
behind in the burning cities and lost
even loss—not cared much
or learned to. I turned and looked
and not even salt did I become.
I have long not wanted much
touch to turn away from and sleep
a sleep to bring the spoon up
and slurp the soup I don’t notice gone.
Like that mostly, my life.
Until I see something new.
It does not happen much.
Except in the sense that everything is new.
Three baby teeth in a washed-clean, baby-food jar
as the drawer opens and closes or
the train passes underneath
or our bed bumps into the nightstand,
into the wall,
sliding across the room,
chattering loose teeth I wanted to hold on to
in a glass jar for what? for how long?
Eventually I pare down
what of me I can’t stand to look at,
what of me I’d never want recognized,
by whoever will clear out my drawers,
whoever does such a thing at the end
of a life,
who years wanted nothing,
who was dead before she died.
Before you came, I hadn’t touched another
in years. It was unintentional.
Later and the satisfaction of a small life
closed in a single mind.
Your thin drawer.
Pocket squares folded into neat stacks.
Wristwatches laid flat into neat—
You looked at me
looking at your things.
I touched the satin squares.
I touched the satin scar
where you had been cut.
Your healthy walking.
Your wristwatch removed
and ticking in this room.
To watch you
get dressed while still in bed
is a little city where
I’m most grateful to be alive, gently
watching a slightly warped record
turn, its tiny hills
raising the needle, too, gently.