My American Dream

Our final Tuesday morning. We wake before dawn,
ignoring crammed suitcases packed by the door.
I make you breakfast; you make me want to stay,
even though you know that it can’t be that way.

It could have been, if I’d known five months prior
that I’d fall in love with you, spark some kind of fire.
But ‘so it goes’, to quote Kurt Vonnegut;
we’d met in Waterstones, both browsing his books.

Then, coffee and rose lipstick stains on a cotton sheet,
perfume hanging in morning air as two lips meet.
I catch it still sometimes – that cinnamon scent,
wafting through windows when the day is spent.

Three months of bliss, of long, lazy phonecalls,
of late night movies, early December snowfalls.
Three months of that laugh, always too loud,
three months of your hand in mine, my solid ground.

Before the ground fell away from beneath my feet
on a Tuesday afternoon, outside an airport, hailing sleet.
British weather, your hair damp against your dress,
my suitcase spotted like the freckles on your neck.

Three months with you, followed by six without,
six lost in America instead, lost with my doubt
about where I was versus where you where,
where we’d both been, you still stuck there.

Now I wake five hours after you, to a bed too wide
you wake five hours too soon, always on your left side.
We go to our classes and talk from different times
when our separate universes happen to align.

4,000 miles, on a map, had never seemed that far,
while I’m seeing Niagra Falls at five you’re seeing stars.
I’ll send you pictures from the hotel in Chicago;
you’ll send me pictures of the flowers you draw.

There’s one hanging lonely on my bedroom wall,
lonely like my soul, but enough to last until the fall.
It was always your best, while you were forever mine,
it’s easy to miss someone when you’re passing time.

Every day a new American asks about my accent,
which always sounded better with yours overlapping it.
I tell them they should hear the way you speak instead,
thinking of it only makes me think of seeing you again.


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