If you see a person everyday for many years,
you won't notice when they begin to develop
wrinkles, and suddenly there is a canyon running
through each of her cheeks and when you kiss
them your lips won't find the deepness foreign
as flesh presses against softer flesh even though
your skulls are closer together now than they
were forty years ago. Older skin has its up sides.
I think one of the most important is that there
are no surprises. If you plan for your future,
it will never happen. If you close your eyes and
focus on your lights and blacks, you can breathe
yourself a new lung and it will be the same as God
pushing apart the heavy clouds and blowing
warm air on the top of your head, smiling onto
your crown and whispering, "Easy, easy, easy."
If you are very tired of life, just stop. And if you
love someone, why can't you just tell them, "Look
at me, I love you, Please stay with me, I love you,
Please don't go," and then maybe that person won't.
I mean, when a person is not touching me, I miss them.
I mean, there are so many things I am doing when
she is not around that I won't remember when I am
eighty years old and she is still not around. I mean,
look at my face and tell me how it makes you feel.
I mean, I mean it, all of it. Even if we wanted to,
we couldn't pack our suitcase and walk out the back
door. We are always holding the hands of too many
secrets and we are in the hard center of our lives.
The fish tanks would algae over and the cichlids
would be forced to daydream towards nothing,
slowly regressing to the dark parts of the glass box
until tiny bodies lined the sealed corners of the tank
from bottom to top, sleepless fish with half-dead eyes,
their creepiness reaching me on the spot, even now.
The newspapers would stack on the porch in an
embarrassing bricking against the front door,
the neighbors put off by our complete disregard
for the lack of aesthetic uniformity of our house plotted
in-between theirs. They would think, "How rude,"
and talk about us behind our backs and between
the lines of thin painted fences. Anyway the zipper
on the suitcase is broken and you said to me,
"Trash bags are only for trash," so the fish are
still alive and the paper is let inside one by one
and when the neighbors talk we pretend not to hear.
I look up and see a butterfly stuck in the air. I think
it is flying against a soft wind but it really does look
stuck in the middle of the space above my head,
trying to move and not moving at all, and
when I think of you this is what I see except
when I think of you, you are sitting at a desk.
If you see a person everyday it is like they are
standing very still.
Sarah Jean Alexander edits Parlor, an online magazine for exquisite corpse poetry. She is the poetry editor of Shabby Doll House and has work published at Hobart, Spork, Pangur Ban Party, Thought Catalog, Pop Serial, Keep This Bag Away From Children and HOUSEFIRE. Sarah Jean lives in Brooklyn with her orange cat.