Golden Boy

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.


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