after Max Ritvo and Claire Yoo
Virginia, I think God is in your moving.
As you go from room to room,
you trace holy lines like streaks of neon,
so bright my teeth ache.
Sometimes when you leave a place,
it’s like you’ve siphoned
all the grace from the air
and taken it with you.
Virginia, I think heaven is a clay city
safe within the gates of your brassiest laugh,
the one you hate,
the one I can’t live without. (I want
to walk towards it even now, remembering.)
There is no way to say I love you
without it feeling like a curse, as if I were
to drop the soft, shapeless bladder
of a rotting plum into your open palm.
Still, this remains a love poem. I speak to you
from the fruit’s darkest bruise.
Virginia, this is my milk-and-honey prayer
to the God in you: when people see us,
let them tell us what they think we could be.
May they always mistake us
for the thing we are not.