Love poem: Coughing over the telephone

Love poem: Coughing over the telephone

I’m happy that I didn’t tell you
(I’m glad that you didn’t catch it)
I picked dandelions for you and I left them by the swing-set
That you walk by on your way home from the market
With non-dairy milk
Of your choosing

You don’t like when others catch you smiling
You don’t like being caught off-guard
You’re like a maze I never stop running through

Some people you can only admire from afar
You can never really get too close
They’ll feel you’re closing in
They’ll be suffocated
Whether you’re carrying ballet-slipper pink love in a cradle or stockpiled, cotton oversized beach towels with their favourite colour (black) printed on both sides
The vehicle isn’t of importance
The weight of your serenity is still too heavy
He’s distant, and he enjoys being distant because he thinks it gives him a better view of the world
He doesn’t know
He just doesn’t see it like I see it
And I don’t see it like he sees it
And we never see each other

I’m swimming in a laundromat, I’m stuck in the washer to my worn Lucky Brand Jeans
There are round lilac pellets that add fragrance to my worn Lucky Brand jeans, but I can’t smell how lovely it is in here because
I’m underwater
And there’s soap in my throat
And I’m calling you on the telephone
And my name comes up, and it looks foreign to you
And you decide not to pick up
And I need you in ways I can never say out loud
Not to you, not to God, not to my mother
Not to anybody at all
And I know if you unlocked the washer to let me out, I’d hit the ground
Hard
Spilling all over the floor
Wretched, ragged
A mess
And I’d be free at last
But forever without you
And my Lucky Brand jeans would find their peril as the homemaker that is my fragile, porcelain body never got to move them to the dryer
Coughing up lint
Missed dentist appointments
Missed phone calls
Missing you, always

I put daisies in a jar and I covered them with enough dirt so that nobody would know they were ever there
Like a corpse in a forgotten film
Like a B-rated whatever gets a B-rating
Like your cats above your vocal booth
Like the numbers you don’t have memorized
Like the girl you never call on the telephone
That only has your contact information saved
And nobody else’s

Coughing up dandelions
Coughing up soap
Coughing up lint
Coughing up fevers
Coughing up memories of you and I sharing a cigarette and laughing
Coughing up dirt
Coughing up the sound of the dial
Coughing up a sweet voicemail message that I didn’t leave because I’m not a sweet girl, nor yours
Not the hazel remnant of someone landing on the moon
The very first time
Ronald Reagan was robbed
Missed telephone calls

I miss you, on repeat


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