Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk


We’d only just met.

I watched sorrow fill the hazels of your

eyes as your told me about the empty seat at the kitchen table

where your father once dined and the scent of the redwood skyscrapers

that I’d only seen in Botany textbooks.

Then your voice wavered when you described

your mother spiraling into depression, leaving you sharing

birthday cake with strangers.

So you proudly waved photos of your 21st before solemnly professing

that Luck drove you home that night.

And I told stories of the sting of a men’s size 30 belt,

made with designer Italian leather,

and the middle school report cards that hung like death notes

on the stainless steel fridge. You

frowned at the thought of me with wire over each of my teeth,

alone at the bus stop the first day of junior high.

Then you clenched your teeth when I explained stumbling

across shattered remnants of magnums,

through doorways and into the shower where I

washed away fingerprints of nomadic almost-lovers.

I reminded myself with flashbacks like notecards saying

you’ll be gone before sunrise too. Won’t you?


But I drifted with you through slumber

in our very own sea of goose-feathered pillows,

in the waves of 1000-count cotton sheets,

and, with eyes bracing daylight, I woke

to the humidity of your breath

at the back of my neck.


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