I loved it when you were learning
And practiced with adjectives at every opportunity
You would frame my face within your hands
And kiss me fiercely before announcing
A kiss that had no special reason, coming as a sample
Proving the glow upon your face was real and marvelous
That you were at home, safe within my heart.
I loved your questions that confused me
“Shake hands and say How do you do . . . .
How do you do what?”
And you would wait for an answer with that cute frown
And there was no answer other than “That’s what we say”
“You’re crazy!” she’d respond. “Thank you, you’re welcome!
Welcome? Welcome to where, to what?
That’s what you say, right? English is for crazy people!”
You loved autumn above all seasons
Pointing and practicing, “Leaf . . . . bush . . . . torrente . . . .
“Stream,” I’d tell you and you would nod pertly
And repeat, “stream . . . . stream . That’s a pretty word.”
“Sure, and gonorrhea sounds like a South Sea island
English is crazy, remember?”
But you would ignore me and walk on muttering
“Stream . . . . torrente . . . . stream . . . . stream.”
That night we sat on the sofa
You with your legs tucked beneath you
And you took my hand with eyes teary bright
“Sometimes,” you said, “I want to lock the door
Never open for anybody. Food is not important
I just want to stay here, inside this place
Here, beside you, inside your arms
Because I am frightened of everything out there.”
Existence was defined by emptiness
Your side of the bed, the chair before me at the table
The seat belt dangling and your place on the sofa
Your side of the dresser, your towels on the rack
Your shampoo and your place to lay out clothes for tomorrow
Everything was abbreviated and nothing complete
Because reality knocked at the door
And everything you feared invited us to this moment