I was sitting outside of advising the other day when this foreign exchange student walked in. He said his name was ____ and he sat down and shook the advisors hand. It’s a small room with two office chairs and a desk that has a monitor placed on top.

“Can we have your ID number?”

“We want to bring up your class schedule.”

He offers the numbers and they put them in. He’s nervous, he’s fidgeting.

_____ just moved here recently. They’re offering him support to get through his degree. I wonder where he moved from. He doesn’t say. I wonder where he grew up. He doesn’t say. I wonder where his mother and father are. I wonder what he ate for dinner when he was a kid. I wonder what he’s afraid of. I wonder what his favorite movie is. I wonder how long he’s been in school and I listen in to see how much longer he has left. He makes a second appointment. He leaves.

I come back next week and he’s there again. There’s no interesting story, it’s just a normal one I guess. He figures out his class schedule. He goes to class. But it makes me think about all of the people around me. They’re all thinking about the same things I am. They’re all doing the same things I am. We wake up and we eat breakfast and we go to class and we struggle with whatever little system we’re currently cycling around in. How many weeks ago did I have that same conversation? Was anyone listening in on me?

He’s wearing sneakers.

“Nice sneakers.” I said.

“Thanks.”

I’ll probably never see him again.

It is easy to box up memories.

Yeah. I boxed them up.

I told myself I’d throw them away.

Fabric and paper and plastic and

slippery shiny photographs once loved and

kissed and hugged and

well, I let it go anyways.

I tip it into the bin

and

it falls

and I guess it keeps on falling

a kaleidoscope of

all those things

but I can’t remember what

any of them were

anyways.

I left a mess about

and it follows me in ghostly footprints

all the places that I go.

I left a mess about and

sometimes I try to wipe it up

with those super unabsorbant

memory tricks of mine.

I left a mess about and, you know,

sometimes I wonder if it bounced before

it broke.

Sometimes I wonder if I threw it

into the wall and

sometimes I wonder if it

rolled down the street a bit

before coming to a halt.

I left a mess about and

I swept it under the rug and

and I moved out

’cause some messes

I guess

you can’t clean up.

I can hear his alarm go off at the same time my alarm goes off, mine a loud chant, his a low hum as it rattles against the bedside table.

He gets up -

I get up -

I pee -

he pees.

I can hear it all echoing out

in symphonies of thin walls

and early morning habits.

I imagine the whole complex

like timed mechanical puppets-

the clock hits 5 -

we rotate upwards -

yawn -

pull the covers back -

make the bed -

places to be.

 

Tell me something, tell me something

tell me something.

You twisted around

and you leaned in

and you told me

I

love

you.

 

I said I knew.

And I said I loved you back.

The words had been used before

but felt crisp

and new

full of meaning.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

Packed up one against the other

like a printing press

pushing out important news.

I need to tell you,

I’ve felt it for a while,

I love you, I love you, I love you.

I love you like the rain trickling on the tin roof

Shallow comforted breaths

and the warmth the comes out from inside of me.

Bird with, clipped wings, you are my

one way ticket to some kind of hope

don’t care where we’re flying.

I love you like the chairs on my front porch

I love you like the sound of the crackling thunder and

when my hands start to fall heavy with what I’m reading

I love

the tender way you let me sleep.

There is this guy who hangs out in the neighborhood. He must be homeless and an addict. I recognize his voice, echoing off the walls of the apartment complex. Hey, can I ask you a question? Do you have a quarter? I wonder where he goes when he isn’t in my world. I wonder what his deal is. I think maybe I should ask. I wonder why I haven’t.

Waxing, hair cutting, nail painting, moisturizing, teasing and primping, pinks and reds and whites, lace and leather. Valentine’s Day is bursting with all the right things.

Every now and then I have it all together. And I think, I’m not much worse off than anyone else. At least I like myself. At least I know who I am. I’m getting better all the time. Hope you are too.

I’ve been surfing down the 20 in my leather boots. standing in the aisle, sipping on my coffee. I’ve been over the same bumps, swaying back and forth with the turns the bus makes, zigging and zagging from the east to the west and back again. How you doing miss, how you doing. You first miss. You first. I’ll take your benevolent sexism. But I won’t take your seat. I like the way the bus moves me. I like the way I feel pressing back and forth with the acceleration. I like it when we stop and I am somewhere new. I like that I can go anywhere.