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Northwesterners

i guess you could say we’ve made it.
now it turns out i do have business
knowing where you wound up:
a state away, once again,
at another stage
of our lives.

and sometimes i wonder
if we’d ever have business
being in the same place again.
someone could invite you or me
here or there, or to some regional thing
that neither of us really wants to attend.

i’m your age now, or what you were,
when i told you something stupid,
and all you could ask was why.
but if i saw you again,
maybe i’d say, my
dear, i was sick.

wouldn’t that be a shitty answer?
imagine if i liked you
because i was sick.
no, that’s not why
i said that i liked you,
but it is why i was a shitty friend.

i know i made it awkward,
not for wanting to fuck you,
because i think we were still okay.
no, i know i made you uncomfortable
in an hour on a friday afternoon,
when i told you i was scared.

you could give a fuck,
but you couldn’t help me.
and you knew you couldn’t.
i think i knew that, too,
but i was so desperate.
oh dear, i was so sick.

it’s not an excuse, but i’m sorry.
i wish you could see me now.
when you last saw me,
i was on a thread:
determined,
but fragile.

so i wish I could tell you i’ve made it.
i imagine telling you i’m okay now,
with or after a drink,
in a bar or in a car,
if we ever have business
being in the same place again.

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Too Much

i like to imagine that one day,
we’ll sit at another bar table—
hands wrapped ‘round a pint glass,
beer in my sight and my breath:
i’ll timidly tremble a “thank you.”

if my eyes dare to meet yours,
my grip on the glistening globs
will fail as they fall on my face.
my perfect public persona:
eroded in an instant.

let me chug this and run—
night will hide my shattering,
my strangled street sobbing.
you pay the tab and tail me:
a shirt will hide my shattering.

i am and you did too much.
with my face buried in fabric,
arms tight ‘round your torso,
hands clutching at clothing—
will you still say, “it’s all good”?

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An Earthling Question

very close, very fast:
the feeling frightened me
before you even flew here.
though not foreign,
i hadn’t felt it for years—

like and unlike
the alaskan wilderness man,
but more like my inexplicable urge,
at eleven years old, to know a woman
who would never be my sister.

my imagination idolized
and demonized her
so doggedly i didn’t know
if i was a lesbian,
a lunatic,
or just
a loser.

while i’ve since learned
i’m largely heterosexual and
that wasn’t and this isn’t sexual,
it’s shameful nonetheless.

my depression demands i desire
a love i don’t deserve.

the emptiness and emotions inspire
an intense insecurity that comes
to a head right before i shed—

why am i writing you right now
when i know this is temporary?
the tension will relax and
the tears will relent
if i just wait.

but somehow now is forever,
and i’m convinced i’ll die alone.
i need a release—

i need you i need you to hear me.
i’m convinced my chest cavity is caving in
and you are the only hand to reach me
through the rubble.

and you indulge me:
my impulses and instincts
and irresponsibility,
despite my irrational insistence
that you ignore my existence.

i don’t know why.

and i don’t know why you,
but you’re not the first
and you won’t be the last.
every time is a warning sign:
a fine line between
control and collapse.