When I saw you in the metro, thorny smile instead of hi,
I knew then that you wouldn’t want to mend it
bundled, a weary snowman, your face hollow in a movie way

later, I laughed and told my friends that if you were gonna kill me it would be with a big sharp knife,
there would be many wounds.

I have been killed in a dozen dreams,
they are typically dopey disappearances
yet I love the variable color and consistency of blood

the hue is always remarkable, unexpected
we talked about it under the awning when the rain fell in sheets
blood is different on birth control, thinner and less seductive
dark and muted in hospital bags, shiny and fast on the surface of the skin
they were talking about sex and I was talking about mortality

but we were talking about beauty

I laughed out loud with my friends:
it’s “a rough patch,”
of harsh gravel, or grass that isn’t mowed?

I’m easy
to love, to forgiveness
I love people who have hurt me
“get your keys back,” he warned

will you continue to scuttle through my life?
the crab is my astrological sign, not yours

now there is silence and snow,
both clean, sentimental
the wall and the memory of it being your blue
before you came in, when we were trying to fill the house and I rolled around
on the mattress with floral print,
we had a home and they came over and we drank in the unmade bed
and talked about who we suspect to be selling out

incense makes it hard to breathe as I try to smoke your ghost out
I see your objects before you took them,
the display of holes in the walls are letters to your absence

at the bar, “Stayin’ Alive” played and then a J.Lo song, then “Hotline Bling”
all betraying the mood
I wept quietly as I archived visual details,
dull burgundy against teal
distracting myself by collecting cues to interpret later
I gave my tears permission to run free,
itchy little streams, better theater, a better visual

all the drama I have seen offscreen:
her punching him in the shower with a puffy winter coat on
the slut-shaming in the doorway
his cut up face and excuses
the array of objects flung against walls

every time it’s simultaneously flat, yet always never-ending in the scene
finding curve and texture later
infused in the bodies, objects and spaces that bore witness
the pink tulips on the mantle, the photographs of the pretty Holstein cows

emotions are meticulous in art
less so in life. but in Kids, I know you’re aware they beat him up to the twang of upbeat Daniel Johnston
cheerful, rigorous, dissonant
the sky is bright and unbroken
his young face glows wet and warm from blood
emotions confuse each other in the most real way here

I wish I could tell you that the song was made for the movie, named for Casper, played by Justin Pierce, who committed suicide in a Las Vegas hotel.
and that Larry Clark said his funeral was the worst day of his life,
“a full-on Catholic wake with the open casket and all these
skateboarders in their fathers’ suits.”

instead I hear this from someone else who has taken your place
as he who shows and tells,
confused when I return the favor.

the gin and tonic was lemon-less and warm.

when I walk home from meeting you, I cue myself to cry again
a vapid mix of glamour and power
the white fur coat, the alabaster night,
it’s all rehearsed, trite, necessary.
the scene plays easy
I call a friend after the tears run dry

your kid face is etched into my psyche as vacant,
symbolic of your not seeing me.
it’s true I demand a lot of my friends.

at the bar, you asked me if I knew what yelling was
you could get one of the men at the bar to show me if I wanted
you told me you had been abused in every way
and used your fingers to indicate how many ways
then you asked me if I thought that you were going to flip the table over and hit me

this was after we laughed at how dumb it was to toast bread at your sister’s fancy house
all the unnecessary mechanisms for mundane tasks,
the exhausting ways of the Calgary elite

this was after you showed me the colorful mural you made for her baby
it is hopeful and simultaneously urgent
you are using a color palette akin to Henry Darger but I don’t tell you
I have congratulated you too many times
we will keep things from each other now