he wants chickens.
he happily recites facts he’s read
about how self-sustainable they are
& shares his plans of a coop in the backyard
& a compost pile
that our kids will tend to.
he delicately asks
how i want the eventual chicken deaths
to be handled
because they dont live very long
& he embraces the extra-sensitive animal lover in me.
he makes plans
how ever small chickens seem
in the grand scheme of life.
he sees fresh farmed eggs
in our future
so despite any doubts i have
about our compatibility as housemates
they must be insignificant enough
for him to still see us caring for chickens.
there’s this simple test
theorists use to determine the success of children
they call it the marshmallow test.
they offer a child a marshmallow,
but also propose
that if they can wait
and resist the first marshmallow
they’ll be rewarded with two.
the impulsive, take the first
seizing the opportunity for gooey sugary goodness in the now
the successful, are those who wait
understanding the double reward for their self control
i am the sugar-driven
the parameters of my test
weren’t clear on the outset.
the two prized marshmallows after my patience
was not a guarantee.
it was a possibility
not wanting to be left
knowing one is better than none
took that first marshmallow
like it was the last piece of heaven
i’d ever taste.
i need to learn to leave the scales
the weighing of equal deeds & favors
i need to adapt to a world
where i cant feel guilty
everytime i ask you to attend a family function
like its one more tally against me
for being weak enough to want you there.
i need to accept my right to feel
like i need you
even if in my mind i havent done enough
to deserve it
we may trade in different currencies
but they’re exchanged for the same reason
i need to remember
that to turn our gestures
into leveraged goods
is to make it a transaction
& not an act of grace.
“there will be two sets of knives
one for you, & one for me,” he says
because he’s seen how haphazardly i stack the dishes in the dish rack
& leave the drying towel unevenly folded on the counter
he’s noticed my frizzy fly-away hairs
that i wear proudly in protest to hair spray & pomade
& my black eyeliner that pools in the corner of my eyes
when i’ve yawned too much on our red-eye flights
he’s observed how my toiletries slowly claim unused counter space
& how he wakes up with my fine, long, hair
woven between his toes, & the fibers of his blanket
he doesnt have to tell me why
there will be two sets of knives
i know all the reasons why.
what i dont know
is where the compartmentalizing
of his & mine ends
& where the sharing begins.
there are things i will probably never have again
now that i’m with you.
i will never have to dread
waking up to passive aggressive texts,
& the onslaught of angry, unproductive back & forth digital arguing.
i will never have to question who’s blowing up your phone,
& pulling your loyalty, your attention from me.
i will never have to imagine all my dirty secrets
that you’re airing out over drinks with the boys.
you don’t realize the bad that you’re missing
when all you’ve been showered with
“so you mean.. a mature relationship?” you ask, smirking.
“no. i mean… the kind of relationship i didn’t know i deserved, but was looking for, my whole life.”
he starts his prayer
before devouring his eight plates of sushi
as i match him– with my measly four
he starts his prayer
with thanking God
for getting “to do life with” me.
& i smile
with my eyes closed
& squeeze his hand a little tighter
because that’s the prayer i say
before i fall asleep.
before the asks,
for keeping him healthy
they say God hears consistency
if that is true
then your name
must be the most prominent thing
God has heard from me
i always kind of liked being unreachable
meant i was un-tethered to the “real world”
i mean i hated that i had a radius
a short distance & practiced route
to get me to & from the hotel
so i wouldn’t get lost.
but at least i couldn’t be bothered
when i was away.
but you went & got me an international data plan
because you know i have a tendency
of getting lost
[even on practiced streets]
so i could be reachable
if i wanted to be.
& instead of feeling tied down
tethered by a leash thats been shortened with this newfound accessibility
i felt even freer.
because when i saw the snow fall in Japan
i could tell you i was thinking of you.
when i tasted the most amazing dessert in Australia
i could send you a photo of it, & tell you to come with me next time to try it for yourself.
because the difference is,
everything i wander towards
i want to share with you.
because you are my world.
ive watched the video you sent me
the tour of the house you’re helping to renovate
you carefully map out the progress of each room
i listened to you explain trimming,
& dry wall,
& i may not understand all of that stuff,
but you in your element
always makes my heart happy.
but that isnt the reason why i watched it 27 times and counting.
when you say,
“and im excited that probably sometime in the future..
we’re gonna do this for us
hopefully. i love you.”
my heart goes all a flutter.
& we both know its been fluttering,
for a very long time now
but now it feels like its fluttering to a rhythm
that we both embody.
& it feels so damn good.
I love you
like a sea otter loves it’s favorite rock.
Fact: sea otters will search high and low
for a perfect rock
Smooth and ideal in shape
to rest on their belly
& smash clams and shellfish upon
they even have a pouch of skin
Where they keep their favorite rock
are my sea otter rock.
she sat on the stoop of the building
her arms cradling his head that hung low into his chest
his eyes pressed hard into the palms of his hand
her posture spoke to me
her every cell begged to perform a transfusion
“transfer the hurt, from him, to me” her face said
as she nuzzled her forehead into the curve between his ear and shoulder
cars passed between them, & me
kicking up the odors of the street
of drunken night life
& sober regrets.
i could feel her desperation from four lanes away
i silently observed them
as my drunken companion pulled me along
but all i wanted was to pause, & watch–
to know their night’s story.
because even in an entirely different country,
hurt easily translates.