Take It Up With Leah

by Randall Tyrone

(Inspired by Tony Feher’s Exhibit “Take It Up With Tut”)

The wind breaks against the curvature of the world,
wearying our cultivated bones, as a chill moves
through her and faintly vibrates her resting arms

against me in October like the slow sifting of soil near the stalk
of a Franklinia on our patio. The crumpled beer cans,
I know, should be described as half buried but I see them

as peeking from beneath the soil like the green of carrots
…something has to be brewing down there. We’ve watered
them with the last bits of back washed tequila

that our minds, in the hopes of preserving organs or dignity,
wouldn’t let us finish. Propped between Budweiser
cans and that husky blue bottle we kept

from your last birthday; finally, a vase
for those plastic roses I gave you for graduation.
This is our garden. I’m managing my breaths

because I can’t endure the incense
from your half-smoked cigarettes
that have mingled…mangled your scent.

Trigger muscle memory
during my morphine thoughts,
while my lung remained collapsed
and doctors told me
about what’s imminent and why I should sign forms.

“It’s just a procedure but you need this one.”

“Do you ever matter more than you do during a …“procedure?”

My chest
is strangling itself in this hug. This is after our argument.
This is how you ensure you get space.

Nicotine armor, you learned to fashion
in college; I remember when
you thought it was a fad, vibrant
but ready to fade. You were attending a distant community
Nightly phone calls, I could tell you’re stressed.
Comforting tones, “It’s okay to be.”
Then my visitations
Then that missed period      a disrupted cycle.
All that uncertainty
and you’ve got to change now. However,
it was just a natural scare. Things reverted; you followed.

Picking it all back up, noticing how dusty habits
have become, like a forgotten creased page you unfold
in an old book, and we roosted into our past

lives. The little pile of burnt white buds
you tried to deposit but the earth wouldn’t take,

is now a compost heap. We’re standing in the garden,
embracing, among all our contributions
to the world. Maybe a few hours have passed;

my feet are asleep and my stomach moans.
I’m still craving the prolonged portions of this before
you squirm and say, “You can let go now.”


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