The Bull

Don’t speak;

Be silent, be attentive.

Be listening.

Don’t ask me how I’ve been.

I’ve been nowhere.

Nowhere has watched me read thousands of pages of fan fiction,

stewing in envy of those who can summon The Will;

Nowhere has watched me go to bed at 4AM on a Sunday and fly

through the house and out of the window in three frantic

minutes the next morning; Nowhere has seen me marvel

at Banteay Srei, a trip I never told you about, where a blazing

noon and humid air startled my skin into nostalgia’s waiting grip,

caught in a slowly crumbling red world, dragons breathing white

fire, a stone bull resting on its side on a slab in the middle of it all;

most of him is long-eroded but the eyes on that invisible head

are nevertheless watchful, bewildered still by a sky of any color,

curled tail and timid hooves wary of curious hands.

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The Old Tree

When I was young,

the aging tree had always

been in repose, as if cradled

not pulled by gravity.

Trunk dark as dirt

found in Home Depot,

roots ugly and gnarled toes; raised

we leapt from them balanced

on childish wobbling ankles,

imagining tightropes over lava,

featherless arms held aloft, cradled too

until not. Wind wound through hair,

between branches like fingers

of an expectant hand, palm-up

and waiting for the thousand

pens lent and never seen again,

car keys, aged and wrinkled

receipts, change, come-hither

gestures, curled fingered beckons;

a supplicant hand, head

bowed, waiting for God.

When I was young,

the aging tree was replaced by a swimming pool.

Character-Building

I don’t remember who she is anymore; it’s been so long.

I see blonde hair, and not much else.

Does she have blonde hair? I can always

change it, but it’d be nice to know where

my mind had gone back then.

How good is she in social situations?

Who does she trust — what’s

her best friend’s name?

Does she have a best friend or did she forget him?

Did she leave him behind and unsure number of years ago

so that little remains of his life in her mind —

a brief memory of sitting cross-

legged on a small basketball court with ten hoops,

her reading, he and two more beside, forming a small square.

His face is vague, brown eyes and short brown hair.

Very Miami. Or very almost everywhere.

She doesn’t remember his voice.

Maybe he had a funny laugh?

Did he try to ask her out once,

or was that someone else, years later?

Does she wish she remembered his name?