Your eyes are ink; I write in black iris. Your hands are flowers; I write on black iris.

There’s a nest of swallows under the eaves (Spanish: golondrina, wings spread thin as leaves, cleaved from the woodlands and cleaned by sea air). Far-off: a cruise-liner, blurred and milky on the surface of the water. The inside of my mouth is soaked in salt, swollen like a fig.

A few years ago, I remember a storm, on this beach, in this house. I lay on the mattress, quiet as the lights went out, like one of mythology’s silky sacrificed girlies. Later, my mother called me to her, and told me to look (Spanish: mira); I remember sticking my head out the window, where she had pointed, and turning my face up. 

I will never leave you behind and I will never let you go, someone tells me in a dream, with such a blend of effortless tenderness and thespian heroism that I can feel that sugary, fibrous love on me, on my body, for weeks after. I wonder if I’ve resigned myself to living like this: conjuring up warm but invisible lovers and other false idols, breathing the sweetness of their rose and amber touch and lips, always the miel (English: honey) rather than the hielo (English: ice).

Even when I lived across this ocean, across the full flesh of these waters, my old heart still could not help but struggle to keep you down. You, with your ultramarine torso and fingers, of all my possible ghosts. The eyes and hands I write with and on; they are your hands and eyes. Though I may, and I will, leave, the shape of you will never be displaced, only rearranged. That’s the last tragedy of first love: it is solid and tactile, infinite, exquisite, but angled so I know that it never loses its teeth.

1 comment

  • stunning. puzzling words for things i’ve felt, as usual, with less clarity than you give them here. the last paragraph sets adrienne rich sounding in my mind again: “whatever happens with us, your body/will haunt mine…”

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