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when nothing smells like you
i let dawn-colored fruit rot in the blue bowl
spray perfume thru the air and try to touch 
myself the way you touched me

too bad we met/never met again/didn't love the same        
when spring arrives in the desert fairy dusters bloom 
scarlett and pink and mercury, jupiter, saturn 
and mars can be seen in the sky

you said spring was vulgar and i never understood 
what you meant/you leaned against the doorframe 
and told me: i've never seen such a beautiful creature
i was so glad the cat didn't walk by

this too: like an apple unaware of its seeds
that could only turn into apples
everything inside you turned to rage
when we lived together i hardly noticed
the rats in the alley but i couldn’t ignore 
the symptoms of your silence/discounting
the spring’s moisture and mine as well 

when you used to stand behind me 
and cup my breasts while i cooked
i knew your smell among all the others
in the room/sometimes you made the bed
sometimes i made pumpkin soup and 
we ate in an unmade bed
when even the desert cooled at night 
you just burned and burned and burned

Welcome both beauty and terror 

Every story I tell of you starts this way    
Once, when I was driving by a pumpkin patch in 
Oregon, rain fell and a brownbird flew across 
my windshield     I didn’t know you yet 

The bird started to open up the way a lotus blooms petal by 
petal    One bird became two  and two wings became four 
and then something broke and a small brownbird carrying a 
smaller bird dropped the other    Over the radio, sounds of a 
soaked brown bag filled with bird bones hitting the window

The unbroken brownbird swooped up over my car 
and I swerved off into flooding fields to weep    
Orange orbs rolled into one another    It's hard to say 
which bird could no longer hold on 

In Oregon, before you told me: no me vas a conmover con
tus lágrimas
, I was told not to cry, curse or talk to students
about my brownness    Did anyone think it would let go, or 
cops noting it through the windshield would stop stopping it
I never explained how brownness made me late for work 

Enamorarse is falling in love in Spanish except nothing falls 
or drops    Rilke said: sigue adelante, ya que ningún sentimiento 
es definitivo    
I can dream a little dream of a little bird saving 
another bird, but I’d already met you when I read Rilke    

Brownbirds blend in with branches, bark and earth because 
brown protects them     You asked me not to shower so the 
scent of my skin became more of itself    
Every time I insert you into a tragedy in the past  I make you 
first one brownbird and then the other   



you won't speak to me 
from far, far away

one of my cousins 
made me eat dirt 

at least we were in 
the mountains not the city 

his sister and i used a stick 
to poke the eyes out of a dead fish 

these two things i forgot 
to tell you 

when chaplin fell 
people laughed 

but that kinda thing 
isn't funny anymore

image: Aaron Burch