I have loved you like a wishbone
pulled apart by the children,
who tug out their teeth
and hold them beneath dreams,
to pray for money instead.
I have loved you like a crack in the dyke
that wakes from her nap,
before the city—
goes to bed.
You look for me on the shelves
of libraries you visited as a kid.
You state that my record sleeves smelt like dust,
until the needle burnt the years between play.
I wore the tan jacket with elbow patches,
and you wore my voice— like slime on a snail.
We made love in the jail hall,
as the convicts stared from their cells.
They beat at their bars with water mugs
and asked the judge to hold all mail.
I have been the hiking stick
worn by a shepherd who walks with a limp.
I have been the piece of thread
that gets caught between film and the lens.
The audience hollers.
They want a refund.
But the projectionist will not turn on the lights.
This is their excuse to burn the city down,
while the firemen applaud with the crowd.
Will you be a bride for me,
torn like a broken fingernail?
I was writing you notes on a Scrabble board,
but you beat me with a triple word score.
You broke my heart and hushed my wants,
pouring my letters in a grey velvet bag.
And there I will stay to yearn and wait,
for the next rainy day.
This box is shut and secured beneath-
a thin red rubber band.