Our tongues ring
like bells, your
fingers groan up
the back of my
We fill this
space with a
lot of things
your pointed feet
the bridge of your mouth
the way I escape
I found you crying in a neighbour’s backyard & you were bent over & you had broken my bedroom window. I heard the news & there were a lot of numbers involved. Empty rooms have always been empty. I left you my ten-speed. You didn’t get far.
I think it will sting & it does. You jump, twist & close your eyes at the same time like it’s natural. I want to choke & vomit into the ocean. I want to blame it on the kid next to me. But there is nothing sexy about gulping for air & dying in New Jersey. Maybe for mobsters. Maybe for their wives. My lungs expand with what’s left of our home sunk inside. A horizon shrinks a burden until it’s a seagull getting fat off vinegar fries. I’m in love with the way your mouth moves when you aren’t talking. When it fills with salt. When it finds God inside a hermit crab. The way it looks.
WHITER SHADE OF PALE
A rearview mirror says they held hands. I watched as Van Morrison sang them all the way to his car. Her arms like my mother’s wedding band around his waist.
It was less than a minute and you tied my shoes and you kept me from a phone call.
In the morning we’re a line of stray cats. The common denominator of an exit is what happened last night. What I love about you is when your thighs touch. What I love about you is that you’re gone tomorrow.
WHAT WE SAW
Take your shoes with you, you’re going to need them. The sound in the hallway is elevators. In a cab he peels me gently and Tom Waits and we negotiate wrinkle free khakis. The last time you thought about it I was never on the verge of anything. I was never about details/savings/steering.
The first call is always hold the wheel at 10 and 2. He tells me the last line is never for ribbons. I wish I was there to cheat your answers. The hole in the city of Toronto is the quickest way to put your freckles in my mouth. We must absolutely mean everything. We must absolutely ride the merry go round.
I WAKE UP AND STEAL
Due to increased prayer amounts, your body still remembers the things you want it to forget. This time of year reminds me of everything I’ve never done. The view from up here is disappointment. I’ve kicked more cans than anyone. I’ve robbed you more times than I can remember.
WHEN I OWE YOU THINGS
We spend the morning swallowing far away. When you drive me to my mother’s your hands are like slow magic, shifting us from mile to mile. When I owe you things. But I don’t really say it. In the passenger seat I feel your heartbeat from the inside. We find the perfect house. We bend at the knees. Everything you say sounds like helium & clouds & what goes up. We bury chairs and lay towels on our side of the moon. You sleep on the loudest part of our secrets. I just want you to be happy & then be everything.
Amanda McIlveen is a 30-something mother of one from Hamilton, Ontario. She is the former owner and operator of Thunderclap! Press and is the author of I Crush You Like (22–5, 2017), You Sang it Back To Me (Mad Rush, 2013) and North of the Mason-Dixon Line (In/Words Press, 2005).