Perhaps The Valley Prior

If you ask me to draw a more tragic
figure, I would draw
Kei’s face

because Kei knew how to torch the desert
Kei knew how to level a forest
Kei knew how to unearth every old tree in the Socotra
and hunt the wildest witches of the east, west, north, and south

he was a wolf with a wolf hunter’s face
a hyena, a hummingbird, a masked crow
and he lived alone in this big
mansion, big as his heart can be
but just as
empty… I guess
I wanted to fill it up
with decoratives that would
just clash with the white
curtains, and curtains, and curtains
just because I could

I repeatedly stumbled onto the compartment he hid under
the mahogany table where he used to lie me down
so we could fuck
and so we fucked
and I decided, fuck it, I’m supposed to
unlock it
since he was never
too careful

I saw
a yellowed letter inside an even more yellowed envelope
I saw
pictures of him and who I could guess, by height and stature,
by way they gripped and they griped,
and by half-listening to him talk as he sleeps
that this is the love of his

not me
no, I
come along later

at one end of the
bark seal was a dent so solid, I could swear
that’s where some jewelry,
blessed with bittered tears and nights in front of absinthe-laced glass
had been
‘fore he pawned it into this
futuristic villa
and the untouched sand where I used to lie him down
so we could fuck
and so we fucked
and he decided, “fuck it, I deserve this love
I could propose to this love
and it’d be right this

but like that empty ring finger he used to slide a ring into
that empty ring finger we have new purpose for, new places
to slip into
I could swear, by every passing, every even-more-romantic-than-before dinner
something was wrong
I felt out of

it was in the way we looked at each other
and he looked at me and wished like he were looking at somebody
and I felt that
and I looked at him and wished like he were drinking and kissing and spending the summer with somebody else
and he felt that

I left him perhaps a few weeks after,
or he left me, who knows, neither could ever have been
bothered, I didn’t
return his calls, he didn’t
message me either
it was just that
like how summer comes to a close and the mist
rolls in
and then out

but not before
I outlined the sky like I outlined his face
like I put into mem’ry every
nerve on his thick body under
cold sheets we made

I almost called the reporters, my manager, my parents, my best
I almost got on top of tables, on restaurants, on beachsides, on
I almost
ran off the road
jet-packed through Antipolo
dived without life support
hiked the side of a
gone mad
cut the fuse

he does this to me
without dillydallying, without hesitation, without fail, without

that’s what love does
it makes you scream in the middle
of a children’s playground
that you could pick any passenger’s bouquet and trim
and turn
the stem and thorns
of even the most wilted rose
and make it into a promise
fashioned by the merry years to have until
it’s just soil around
until the final name of the credits pan up to black
until the end of the mariachi band’s song
until the last breath of oxygen at the air lock
when either hits the ‘release trash’ button

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