What The Birds Said
I find it easy to imagine you in uniform
young and afraid
with your hands around a page of poetry
its corners curled.
You must have written your last poem
Years later, the floorboards can’t tell who we are
by our footsteps alone
if we’ve ever met before.
the confusion is likely due to how
we look at each other
but still manage to keep our faces
at a distance.
I watch your fingers around my calf
and think of the curled page,
of the terrain you’ve had to walk
to get to this apartment here
just to tell me that you have secrets.
No one I know has journeyed through desert,
feeding birds with his hands and mouth,
just to end up here with me.
I wonder what the birds told you.
I have not walked through anything
except the halls of my mind
over and over,
searching for meaning
in every empty gesture.
It’s a detriment.
I do it even now
you don’t have this problem.
You’ve done this before.
You’ve lived a lifetime of things
in the years leading up until now
while I’ve lived multiple lives
years before I was born,
still trying to remember
everything I’ve learned.
But there is something new
for the both of us
that broke me from the distraction in my head:
the resistance between us
as I climb up your shirt.
The Memory of Denial
My childhood in his eyes.
Whenever I see it anywhere else,
I fear it.
I have memories of an infinite stair,
grass greener than riverbank foliage.
crunching leaves at my ancestor's house
running across acres,
no other existence.
the alcohol he drank
and death, the only thing that makes us like children again:
he died with fetal dances, lying on pink sheets
and a quilt decorated with shellfish.
discovering the truth of what it means to be alive.
the dry river
descending the steps.
he promised me he would try,
as he struggled to lift his hand
to take the last pill.
Only when I eat pomegranate seeds
do I think of you now.
Red drops remind me of your hands around my neck.
Pulled back to the recollection of the ravenous nest,
created from tears of wine.
I cannot remember if I
dripped wax on your distorted collar,
or if your mother was the one to recall you to hell.
I do not feel guilty
when I turn myself back into a sprig beside the wall of Narcissus.
Alexandra Kesick is a writer in Boston, originally from the Hudson Valley in New York. She works at Harvard Business School.