Before the city had cut down pecan trees for the mall, before your brother was diagnosed with cancer, before the crazy woman moved into the fishing cabin, brown earth stretched diagonally toward the bayou topped with stubbles of dried grass sticking out like the hairs of a balding man, orange sun shuddering in a harp of light; before that, I loved you the way songs tell it, two hearts meeting in a big bang to create their own constellation, and even if I didn’t get the science right, there you were, until you were no longer.
Following gravity, I lived in a black hole. It wasn’t an Alice and Wonderland sort of hole with rabbits and cats and caterpillars breathing smoke in my face and asking who are you; I’d dug a tunnel and heated myself inside my warmth. When I crawled out, plum trees bloomed on the hillside white, acacia trees yellow, but personally I was a wreck—my hair muddy, fingernails the same, whatever clothing I had, rotten and shredded. Fortunately, I had retained the keys to my condo hung from a white bakery string around my neck, lifted my hands to the shower nozzle for this was hot water and couldn’t kill me anymore than I’d been wounded, danced in the stall of my longing, touched my dreams, and they shimmered back.