Even Though We’re No Longer Together
I still calculate the time
difference, still do the backward
math to determine if you’re awake,
if you’ve read my text, if you’re
at work or at the gym. I still remember
the solid weight of you in my bed,
the way you reached for me as I lay
unsleeping. Still scroll through
pictures, find the few I have –
us on the water, squinting against
the island sun. Us leaning close,
heads tilted toward one another as though
conspiring for a future we know we won’t
have. I still want you to call me
beautiful, still want you to miss me, still want you
to want me. I still sent you a birthday
card, the perfect balance of caring
and not caring. I calculated the days,
did the backward math, mailed
the card a week early, still hoping
it arrived in time.
It is not love that glides
my hand across his body
like the heart of a Ouija
board pushing toward fate.
Like the cosmic forces neither
of us believe in that pull us
closer – my lips to his lips,
my hips to his. The fortune
in my cookie advised,
Make decisions slowly.
His declared, An exciting
time is in store for you.
I crumpled the tiny paper
in my hand. Kissed him
him for the first time.
He takes my hand,
opens my palm. Reading
my future? I ask, smiling
into the curve where his
shoulder meets his neck.
He says nothing, just
traces the lines and kisses
my palm, sealing our fate.
My father can’t eat tomatoes
anymore, the acid from the fruit
eats away at his gums, his lips, the soft,
pink flesh on the inside of his mouth.
Yet he continues to grow them
in his garden. A farmer for forty
years he culls forth the dark
green stalks, his creased
hands magic in the earth.
My husband can’t eat tomatoes,
the acid eats away at his stomach,
scurrying him to the bathroom.
Yet he asks me to make
spaghetti sauce, the kind that takes
three hours, that starts with boiling
the fruit to loosen the skin
so I can peel it away,
leaving only the flesh
to crush and season and simmer.
I do not know if my lover eats tomatoes,
our time together usually isn’t spent
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press, forthcoming) and is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix Review, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill Press, Haunted Waters Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog at wordperv.com, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
(Photo credit: Flickr.)