Infinite Waiting

by | Jun 9, 2020 | Issue Fifteen, Poetry

I know dreaming of touching you now is like choosing

to watch the story of the earth ending or the one where the sun’s

core fuses too much helium and soon after collapses.

Still, I remember what it was to wait for you.

You had a job washing the bodies of the deranged,

who were also the dying. And I waited for you by the graffiti

and run-down, rusted rails of the faded tan building, where

across the way, rain soaked through the feasts of hemlocks,

the parkas of the bus stop crowds sometimes

sharing grocery fruits, theirs hope and burdens

in Farsi and Spanish. I tried to pick up what I could,

but that year everything only sounded like prayer to me.

That year the wondrous prayer of you played over

and over in me like the first contractions just before

the birth of the universe or just the same it played in me

like a free-style dance, synth hook from 1988,

which meant I became a child again hearing the world

for the first time. Only then, I kept being told the story

of what I should want. But years after,

all I wanted was to fill you with life as you returned

from your scrubbing duties, the struggles,

and how you would say to them as they wailed

you were making them clean for heaven.

Reminding them first came the light and then

the heavens, which is something I often forgot too.

So, I’d ask you to tell it to me again and again,

mostly because I could never be as good as you.

Still, I wanted to be the one to give you life, but even then,

in all my foolishness, I knew there were rooms

we could not go into, gates to gardens we could never latch open.

Still, your arm in my hand while crossing the row-home avenues,

your wrist wading in my wet hand, and I swear,

I was holding a thousand radio wave pulses transmitting

miraculous sound—trance sonatas all across the yellow neon

dusk of this city into the blur of night sky—the galaxies

we will never give names to, the galaxies we will never know

with just our sad eyes or ecstatic reaching.

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