Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


[Things feel partial. My love for things is partial. Mikel on his last legs, covered]

Things feel partial. My love for things is partial. Mikel on his last legs, covered
in KS lesions demanded that I see the beauty of a mass of chrysanthemums. Look,
he demanded. I lied that I could see the beauty there but all I saw was a smear
of yellow flowers. I wanted to leave that place. I wanted to leave him to die
without me. And soon that’s what I did. Even the molecule I allowed myself to feel
of our last goodbye made me scream. What would have happened if I’d opened
my heart all the way as I was told to do if I wanted Jesus to live inside one of its
dank chambers? Whitman told me to unscrew the locks from the doors and the doors
themselves from the jambs. Let love come streaming in like when the St. Joe flooded
Save-A-Lot and drove it out of business. The only store in town. Don’t put my ashes
in the river Mikel said. Put them in a tributary. I did. I put them in a tributary without
touching them. Now I want to chalk my fingerprints with them but it’s too late.
I want to hold them like he held me and touched my upper lip and called it cupid’s
cusp, a phrase that made me wince. I felt love all the way then, and never since.

Credit


Copyright © 2019 by Diane Seuss. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 16, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“This poem is part of a larger collection of sonnets that together add up to something like a memoir. Mikel and I met in art class in high school. He got me; I got him. Our relationship was deep and fluid and pure. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 and died. In the end, I failed him. I am not the hero of this poem.”
—Diane Seuss

Author


Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss’s most recent collection is frank: sonnets (Graywolf Press, 2021). Seuss is a professor and editor. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Date Published: 2019-05-16

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/things-feel-partial-my-love-things-partial-mikel-his-last-legs-covered