Georgianna Van Gunten

To Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

With each gaze we cling tighter, elope like antlered long legs into the hills, the steam off the earth rushes at the sky. With each kiss, each passionate touch, that with every word we are made whole, these worthless bodies. So much stands here unmoved for centuries, just changed by the daily rise and then collapse of light, marking moments, making this wrist flick, these fingers push open lips, drag softness against coarseness. I dream, I wake but ache for sleep. Each and every sidewalk spills into the city center. What can we do now that these arms won’t work to help us? That these hands I shove in pockets, walk around and admire ant piles instead of peonies, default to unhappy, that joy rips out of each room like a bat trapped in a house; these external environments, these stars made of the past.

There is no reason for alarm. Can we write to our hearts? Can we unseal the envelope, read aloud these secrets to each other, for madness in the name of love? Are we living or are we dying for it?

Apples, Cherries, a can of salt, a bottle, a barrel, cracked pepper, local strawberries that taste like magic, I am hungry like you for the soil. I am a slice of bread with a bite in it, you beauty bear, beast of a thousand monkeys, little kingdom, moving jungle, laundered love letter still left in the pocket years later. So we stopped, so we could not agree, so I challenged you one too many times. What does the library hide in stacks? That these people lived, most of them already dead, that I gorged on the sodium of dust where their decomposed corpses hid, licked the rims of glasses and sighed like air leaving a dead body. My breath is also your breath. We can go back to hello, to the first handshake, first backwards glance, first (sharp inhale).

So many things I can’t stay alive for. I am on my bed in mid-June, I fiddle with the belt from my robe which I never wear. Instead I pace naked through the house, admire the softness of this little death object. I jiggle the doorknob, I lock the deadbolt, I wonder if it will take the weight of me. Somehow I end up on a bus to the airport, belt and robe at home.

Where are we? What are we running from? Are we walking towards the city center? Will I meet you by the cafe, the courthouse, the corner bar with its floor nicked by memory and dancing feet? Please remember to forgive. Please, please can we be happy now knowing we may want to die again tomorrow? Can I use my hand to shade my eyes from the sun so I can see you as you cross the street, the click of your heels against the pavement as you move ever forward, ever surly by the slow drawl of days and stale cigarettes. I am in the airport at the gate, and I am in a new city now, a state lush with vegetation, trees made massive by the pass of time; each season they come back after Autumn’s half death and Winter’s long sleep.