i want to fly with the telephone signal. i never imagined i’d need to see you just to be sure that your voice has a tongue, that your tongue flits and dances behind lips shaping words. teeth in your smile, shining in the light and all that.
i took a walk in the park with an old friend of mine who doesn’t know you. we drank a couple of Cokes, split a joint between us, and i told her one of your stories as if i’d read it on CNN. sometimes i have to pretend that i don’t know you either.
face down in the dirt, your boots torn off your feet, arms asleep. i want to have been with you. i want to feel that distant exhaustion in my muscles, watch the same film reel behind my eyes so that you could look at me and i’d understand and you would never have to explain the smell of sun-baked blood when you taste it on your lips.
i need to tell you that i didn’t turn on the TV for five months, but i’ve started watching the news now, watching with purpose. i prefer the eleven o’clock because it helps me sleep when i don’t hear your name. and now, before i go to bed, i pray to God. news then God, news then God, every damn night.
i need to tell you that i’m not sure your eyes will be the same light hazel they’ve always been. i’m not sure about the curls at the nape of your neck or the smell of your chest like a new Hanes t-shirt and coffee grounds.
so today, in my fog of nine-to-three steering and sweater-layered baggage, i find myself wondering how to hug you tight enough to know who exactly came back from your trip.