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Love Poem for My Ex-Husband

Every day we spend together ends

in the past: our bucket full of hair,

my favorite spoons, 100 t-shirts, the bed.

You said of course the days are faster

now than in the past, the bucket fills

with half of them. I count time left though

we’re not sick. You said the days are faster,

we have less of them. This math haunts me.

I count the decades left, we’re lucky.

Your name is a song, a river—there

are less of them now—I saw you first

with a surfboard on the lawn. Your name

is also a cantaloupe, pronounced pay-kiss

and I crawled into you on the lawn with

that surfboard before biting my lips

gently into the cantaloupe, crawling

into a river slow orange sun quiet warm

before biting my lips into your name I float

on for some time, a river slow orange sun

quiet warm toward Atlanta where I float

on your name for some time, seek the control

none of us have in our hometowns. Remember

my panic attacks after William, my childhood

friend, was shot in the parking lot. Panic. Loud.

You always make the bed because I can’t

unsee that gun blasting in the parking lot—

I need the control none of us have because

I can’t unsee the panic. My mother says I’m

like a bullet needing the control no one has,

but you say forget the metaphor, no one’s only

what their mother says. You’re my tribe,

a river, a goddamn cantaloupe, everything

your mother said and I’ll float my lips on you

forever until every day we spend together ends.

from Sugar WorkFind more by Katie Marya at the library

Copyright © 2022 Katie Marya
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Katie Marya Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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