The summer you wooed me I read
your journal while you slept, lyrics
for the Gretsch you down-stroked
until your wrist bled. My hands shook
turning the pages, searching for sign.
Some clue about what I was.
She’s a castle. I’m a thief,
stealing her crown from a red velvet seat.
The throne was my heart, I guess.
Its previous owner, your best pal.
What did I know about any of it?
Fifteen years old and phobic.
We like to think we learn
something of love in time.
Call it wisdom. Really all we gain
is distance. Each lover, a rung
ascended, and quake
the climbing steps, desperate
for balance, as gravity drags
the blood to our feet. This wisdom
is making me woozy. It’s late,
I’m smoking Kamel Reds in Tina’s
tan sedan, watching her slow
mouth explain the accident.
Your friends smashed under the amps,
the Marshall stack, hatched
from the windshield, torn apart
like paper, but you
were perfect. That’s the word she used.
In the road, on your back, perfectly
intact, eyes wide, as if in wonder
and what did the heavens show you?
What have they shown me?
The years crash forward, terrible
machines. Survival, accidental.
Wisdom, Perfect. My heart, an abandoned
castle. A mixed tape dubbed by a hundred
players, losing generation every time.
My heart: a hive, and I
its queen, each cell buzzing
with news of its own demise.
Lisa Wells is the author of BEAST (poems, Bedouin Books 2012) and Yeah. No. Totally., a book of essays (Perfect Day Publishing, 2011.) Her work has appeared places like The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Coldfront, Plazm Magazine, and Ecotone. She’s from Portland, Oregon. More at: http://lisawellswriter.wordpress.com/