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.