Tell Me How You Know What You Know

by ...

Zoe Whittall

 

1.

You didn’t realize
the apology plant was plastic;
I watered it for two weeks before I noticed.

On Halloween you said,
let’s watch scary movies
about snakes, or zombies, or intimacy.

2.

8-years-old, playing hide n’ seek:
while your friend counted to ten,
you just walked home.

West of Winnipeg, the rain
was within sight, so you drove
for forty-five minutes to catch it.

3.

South of Big Sur, we are 39.
A swarm of secrets in good salt. Your two fears:
being smothered, being abandoned.

San Luis Obispo, an infinity pool:
you’re the teacher, the no-boundaries boss.
My fears: open spaces, genuine powerlessness.

4.

Your sons don’t like surprises. The river rises,
the youngest grabs my hand. I’m the shoreline’s
soft shoulder, tolerating uncertainty.

We are suddenly the adults now? I tattoo
his tiny arm with a pink pony, feel my hips and
mouth sharpen, ready to fight off any danger.

5.

39, without a baby, a female body becomes
indecipherable, to the waitress at Montana’s
our extended family, and now

even the other queers. When we walk
the tender red landscape in Arizona, I
stand at the altar for dead husbands

and children at the base of the mountain.
I count to ten. I think you are hiding,
but you rise behind the saguaro, alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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