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.