For M.

by Michael M. Weinstein
Do June again, for you have not gotten it quite.  What a passionless substance  this absence is, colors  summer in as if by number:  lemonade, trampledgrass, smalt—which is a deep & nearly  unforgivable blue. As it latens it dawdles, collects  all that’s abandoned, the sunlight does.  An o’clock / an ochre filter.  The fossilized playground structures’  rusty spines. What extinct species of verb were once  mine? Run, jump, climb. Up the hot  metal bend of the slide. Shiny violence, this wistfulness—wants to put flesh on  the bones of it: feathers, scales, fingernails.  To see in the ginkgo tree’s stinking seeds what  the world was. A substance, yet passionless. Not wanting anything but  to be truly without us,  for a branch tip to shoot out a leaf—  thus may each pollen cone release  its impeccable sporophylls, as it has always done—and go on  doing & doing that. June  was all strung up, like the ghostly diaphanous  slips on the fire escape at dusk—the undershirt barely  swaying like a rabbi praying  in his sleep, so sheer you saw the moon  sweat through, the dark all round—on our hopes for it.  A maculate  summer night far from the center, real far, almost close to the airport,  sprawl of vacant lots & used car dealerships is what we got.

An o’clock  like the other o’clocks. Except we had thought  I could walk. Pale prince in a kingdom of silverware I became  that night, that summer,  sat up  coloring the window: dark & dark & dark,  a deep substance,  passionless. Swallowing  none of the vast sweep of feeling feasting on the joists of my  half-life, June just went on  polishing the horizon like a knife—a lost continent’s edge,  Ability—agleam & neatly  placed back into the velvet drawer of night.  & maybe the trees, too—so black we   can’t see them now—believed  they’d been promised a different arrangement,  not to kneel still as penitents until  the sky lucidly, scrupulously drops  its breathless dioxides. We had dreamed July  temperate: all ice cream & iridescence, even mosquitoes’  tinselflickering wings at our elbows expected, somehow correct. But the fact   a plastic sac  of powdered-freezedried-then-diluted monoclonal antibodies stolen  from a mouse now drips  down into the roots of me—  that this substance, passionless, attacks  every cell  with its runoff of chemical snow—  feels like an outside joke. A laughter / a slaughter.  Like how I was somebody’s daughter. How once we watched each other  put on a dress  with a terrible earnestness& nothing anywhere breathing.  I was a mummy back then: someone  had painted a code on my body, a face on my face,  someone crushed spices into my absences, someone rinsed my insides with palm wine,  & I lay waiting  to disappear, or change.  You took the name  I gave you, and the thought that you carry it   over the fields of your whole time  on earth cuts into me  like that post-IV ache in the vein, won’t go away.  How to come back from that.  How to go out, like folks do, for a walk  —lemonade, trampledgrass—& not feel gone from it, not  take the whole gorgeous aftermath  personally? I try  to do June again, only this time we’re not underwater—  down deep in the cold seeps, the abyssal  plain with its hagfish & boneworms & hundreds of atmospheres pressed on our hearts.  Remember?  How fear was our warmth down there, our shared  nourishment detritus of the secret  drifting relentlessly into our mouths, unspeakable.  Now it is out,  hung on these beached ribs, extinct & free,  I carry the ocean inside. In that vascular dark,  so much of my flesh was imaginary.  No one could see me. Only you could see me.

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