do you remember how the pebbles slipped underfoot, picking up speeding as they rolled down the edges of the steamy night? do you remember how the silence stuck to the edges of our wounded words, translating our humid desires into a code that blocked the openings?
do you remember the taste of the root-stained water, the cottonwood’s contorted reflection, its rotted skin? do you remember the song whose words we could not remember, the shape of the canyon?
like me do you sing it to yourself in the apartment building stairwell, on the busstop, in long hallways of the third shift, in the room with the typewriter on the floor?
your burgundy note was visible on the kitchen table through the dawn’s amber smoke, the settled silt, like a leaf with curled edges like the open palm of a hand nailed to the heavy oak. I never been able to ask, but
i am certain of the smoked cigarettes, the red vest, the cracked windshield, a fence somewhere that you had always wanted to repair, the long stretch filled, i know, with potholes.
i am certain of the second story window left open all these years, of the seeping scent of orange blossom that again you would take for jasmine.
i am certain of the city’s creases, its chapped hands, the sand ribs of the riverbed, the fluted clouds. i am certain of what emerges from behind the words. i am certain of you, your sweet tobacco fingertips, certain that what we shared with be there where the poem deadends.