The feel of Nico’s small, warm hand in mine needs a poem. The way he effortlessly, without hesitating, reaches his hand into mine. Only when we get into the middle of the street does he remember and pulls his hand away. “I’m going to be brave,” he says. And I reply, “This isn’t about being brave,” and I reach for his hand again.
Matt’s eyes need a poem. The way they look small and blurred behind the lenses of his glasses. The ways his eyes pool with tears when he talks to me lately, the way his faces trembles and swells, flushes red, wounded and afraid.
And Ben with the streaks of blue he instructed me to spray on his head. The way we went outside while he covered his eyes, and I sprayed, holding a paper towel underneath each swath of hair, how I imagined a hairdresser would. His face needs a poem, the way he looks in the mirror lately and combs his hair, the little dance he does for his reflection.
I might need a poem too. For the way my body has been speaking to me. Brain shivering, diarrhea for days on end. If the body wrote poetry, what would it be saying?
That’s what Juna asked me on the phone the other day. I closed my eyes and put my right hand on my belly, tears beginning to pour down my face – “I’m terrified,” I finally said.
The bright pink gerbers are their own kind of poem sitting on the table and the sound of garbage trucks every Thursday morning, bottles clanging in the distance. Hunger is a poem, just like longing.
Even Tinder is a sad little poem, so many lonely little spirits wanting to connect, reaching for something.
I smiled at a silver-haired woman in the grocery store line yesterday and she was so encouraged, so delighted by my eye contact that she handed me a pineapple and I was confused. And she said, “It’s only 98 cents. I don’t need both,” and she smiled again. I saw in her that same loneliness, that same hunger, that same desire to connect, to belong, to love.