8

I was to water her orchid. Never before had I cared for one. There’s an aggressive tenderness to the nature of the plant, to her behavior. Her needs need to be anticipated.

I watered her as instructed. I undressed her from her ceramic and released her, exposed, into a shallow pool of tap water. The duration, I don’t remember. “More than four hours”, I was told, was enough. “More than four hours, less than a day.” I did what I was told.

I drained the excess into the metal sink where I wash the dishes and pour cold coffee. I waited for her. That is how it works with the orchids. You wait. Used and unused, standing in a dance without movement.

Carefully, I redressed her, and nature blew a contemptuous breath that fell a flower, symmetric, stem intact. And I watched her abruptness sit me flat in my flawed attachment to meaning.

Because she can.

dimmed on names

I called him Dimitri. His name was Dmytro. His father called him Misha. “I love the name Misha!” The left side of his lips pursed together and peaked upward in a forced side smile and incisors peeked out to a grimace. “I don’t like that name.” He tried to be polite and looked into my eyes. “My father used to call me that.” Dimitri’s father used to beat Misha with his fists whenever he didn’t have enough drink to lull him to sleep. Two weeks after deciding that Dimitri was too much to be with, I forgot his name. Almost half a year later his name resurrected itself in my consciousness. I thought I pulled him from the roots.

Dmytro, I forgot that I could remember you.

dee…dee…deemeetri, dimitri. yes, that was his name. i forgot it entirely. when again did we break up? i probably shouldn’t use the term ‘break up’. that implies some type of discussion took place. not. i just stopped texting him. i don’t know how he felt. i didn’t care. i just remember how exhausting it was to be around him. the thought of seeing his face, of being in his presence, of hearing his voice overwhelmed me. the air around him always felt thick. it would’ve been too hard to breathe.

Heat brews in my chest. It burns a smoke that grates against my inside. My hand hurts. I’ve been holding the pen too tight, like a fist. It aches to open and let go.

Dimitri,

I break you in parts and serve you upon blank sheets of paper to faceless readers I hope will chew, digest, spit.

I remember our first time alone together. You took me in your arms and rocked me like a mother does her newborn, with a type of shaky anxiety. You thought I was younger than I was and I made you laugh, and you said to me, “Doesn’t it feel good to be held.” I didn’t answer because I didn’t think you were talking to me.

we had moments

where his eyes fed me

and they were wet

and expanded.

I threw you away, and you came back rotted, holes, pieces falling apart and dangling from thinning tendons. Too choppy, these memories.

I don’t know what to do with this.

6

Here is a portrait
Incomplete
Of a man, I see
Flat, 2d
Of a man, I know
Just barely
Through memories
That are not from me.

He was born in the year of the Earth Monkey,
A Gemini, like my mother. His mother,
A washer; his father,
A master miller.
Both are now dead.

He loves dogs.
“No.
He loves any animal
That obeys him.”
       Once
He trained a pig to act like a dog.
Imagine that.
Kept the porker on a leash
Took it for walks
-Bit people too but

“Only at his command,
Of course.” Of course.

He likes his beer blonde
Like his hair, and The Thief King is
His f  a  v  o  r  ite book, and
It’s like Game of Thrones
‘Cept no one knows it
Except him.
(Accept him) playonwords

I want you to know
That

He is somewhere

Breathing,

Pink masses stretching and releasing
Beneath
A cage of his bones.

Maybe coughing
Or rubbing
The cold from his eye with a knuckle
Or feeling
His palms grow cool against metal.

He is somewhere and
These are just words
That you read. A portrait
Incomplete
Of a man, you see
Flat, 2d
Of a man, you know
Just barely
Through memories
That are not from thee.