Tin Man

When I was a boy
I loved to take my shoes off
and slide across slick floors like Tom Cruise.
As an adult,
I find that getting swept from your feet
isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
I’m as clunky as the Tin Man.
I always have been.
My hazardous feet always slip beneath me,
head over my heels, without a warning sign.
In my twenties
I started tying my boots with
shoelaces made from empty nights
with first-name-onlys
as if every rebound led
to the bed of another rebound.
The scent of each night still lingered on my collarbone
as I’d wash away the taste of his lips from my mouth.
I thought it could work,
but my heart was never in it
and my tongue couldn’t hold the lie.
My friend Joe told me
foxes use chicken feathers to clean their teeth.
I suppose it’s the same way some of us
floss out words with our heartstrings.

My words follow my feet,
tripping across the silences,
collapsing onto my heartbeat
a dying pulse in his palm.
But there are those
that can create a city with a speech.
With every whisper
they light up the stars,
they wake the heavens from their slumber,
shake the forests of darkness
make you die in every silence;

Every time he speaks it’s a fucking miracle.

Darling,
do you remember the night
my fingertips carved the crescent moon
in the bend of your side?
Your breathing, waxing and waning.
My lips clutched your shoulder as we spooned,
beads of sweat sea-salting the caramel of your skin.
It was the first time I felt
my body was finally in tune
with the rhythm of my heartbeat.
My clumsy was left in my shoes,
my anxieties a cotton puddle on the floor.
Your touch left me so naked at night
the only thing I ever wore were
the stripes of moonlight that streamed through the blinds.
Do you remember?
I would’ve caressed my skin into your pores,
threaded a strand of hair into your pillow,
fingerprinted every glass in the house
if I’d had known how swiftly it would fade.

We’re the Ring of Fire, you said.
It could’ve been a joke.
But the truth was
we wore so much heat at night
it was like we were trapping volcanoes in the sun.
Like I was solar-powered,
drinking in your sun,
remembering every word, every touch.
Maybe the only fuel I had to burn
lay in the valley of your chest
or on the tips of your fingers;
every touch a fossil embedded
in the dunes of my spine.

There are some people that bend you
the same way ice bends the branches of a tree.
The weight becomes too heavy to overcome
and you’re never righted the same way again.
I would never have had the backbone to let you go.
I’ve never been good at goodbyes.
I never knew how to walk away
without leaving my happiness at your feet.
Those people that bend you
still put leaves on your branches,
making a rustle of music with each wind of change.
This is my, “I’ll miss you sometimes” poem
to let you know that I will.
And even though you’re gone
I’ll still think it was beautiful.
All I want from this life
is to make something beautiful out of it.
Even if I have to trip to the end.

About Ry

It's so magical, it's gay.
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