You looked into my eyes for a reflection
Of the shimmering jade-silk-sewage-baked-seawater-tile-indigo
City at the edge of the earth
And I knew to lean close and ask for another story
So that maybe my face would merge with your memories of the salt and rain
And spicy grilled fish eaten off bright green banana leaves
Until you could lie half-asleep and remember
How my hand felt in yours when we walked past the docks
And boarded the tiny wooden houseboat painted like an emerald splashed with milk
And pushed off into the lagoon as the water folded quietly back into place behind us.
You’d recall how we nearly capsized leaning out to see if the cranes that looked black against the blazing sunset
Had red heads, or white,
How the stillness set in and we began to speak in whispers without realizing
And found each other by touch when the only light burned out.
You’d remember it as the night you learned to recognize me by the brush of my nose against your cheek
And wondered whether the precise pressure of your grip on my waist became, for me, as much a part of you as the color of your voice.
. . .
Your fingers reached for mine
And I had to look away from where you sat, burning,
Placed luminous into the world for the inconvenience of us who need dark corners.
Eyes downcast we shared a smile of what might have been complicity
Which I stored up for the day I knew was coming
When you’d catch me unaware and my gaze would turn up blank
And you’d realize there had never been a houseboat
And the silver city didn’t live in my mind
And your feet would take you, as they always did, to the water and the promise of Faraway
Where you’d set sail waving flags of blue and white at the sky
But forget to turn toward the shore and wave back at me.
Sometimes now, in your wake, I find myself hunting for a sunbeam
Where behind eyelids that filter gold into pale warmth
I can spend a few moments in the searing memory of your light.