I say, I will never drink your bones again

and know this is what it feels like to be emptied wholly. Full and empty.

A mother's hallucination of a lover she's seen on streets but never touched.
Cries: love you. Sings: love you. All missing

the I's.

The word you becomes we. I becomes we. Your hair on my neck's skin
means ticklish. It means a word my teeth knows by each bite
and each syllable.

Your laughter and the hitch you make: grey, white, wooden.

It was all the same. Brother, brother.

Your knees. My hands, your hands. You dredging up the bones of the cat you loved
and ran over by accident. You kneeling and saying, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, don't go, you said it more than once,

and me recounting/collecting bedtime stories in a puddle
inside two palms.

(Too heavy. Too light. Nails lit with orphan fire.)

You asked me, are we somebody else when we go elsewhere?

On the road, or in the convenience store miles later? Will we still be home
if no one opens the door when we knock?

(I know this. I know this,)

the hands like a tenderness, hands like a fist fighter. One out of two
means it's going away. You say you don't know which it'd mean, the other half. (If the door opens.

If it doesn't.) You don't say it. You keep doing that. Keeping your mouth closed,

your skin is a bruise pinker than blood. The smell of incense
from the fractures of your laughter

sits at the dinette table like an uninvited guest.

I burn up. This is how one turns to ashes. These knees, your lips mouthing mine: you're the little finger
that aches the most.

I throw up the lightness and I die living when I get up, when I
listen to the sound of warmth piling up in the house of our neighbor

but not here.
We've never been here. This place. This body
that moves and tries to find you

to tell you I saw your ghost last night when I dreamt.

It looked like a stickman my two-year-old self had clumsily drawn. Something that couldn't be held. I said I
still want to hold you. Dredge you from your own ashes. Your ghost: scooping koi from a pond. Years ago. I remember the water

and the fish that sucked on our skin. I remember your shape—the realization that soon
I would say it all very quietly, breathe matter
into you,

and wish for home.

(You sang again. It made me cry.)

I wish you'd say: 'That boy wasn't me'
say: 'You were dreaming, darling'
say: 'You can go home without me'

but you don't, and you leave me with homeless toes, homeless shins. You take these bricks
and throw them in the river, and you don't

come back.


(Last night, the last night, I held your bones to fall asleep. Took them up to my chest,
and they sang, and I knocked,

and the door opened.)