My name is Ryan. 22. Male. Student. Minimalist. Activist. I like photography, design, architecture, and language.
And this is how we danced: our mothers’
white dresses spilling from our feet, late August
turning our hands dark red. And this is how we loved:
a fifth of vodka and an afternoon in the attic, your fingers
sweeping through my hair—my hair a wildfire.
We covered our ears and your father’s tantrum turned
to heartbeats. When our lips touched the day closed
into a coffin. In the museum of the heart
there are two headless people building a burning house.
In case of rain, there was always the shotgun
above the fireplace. Always another hour to kill—only
to beg some god to return the seconds. If not the attic,
the car. If not the car, the dream. If not the boy, his clothes.
If not alive, put down the phone. Because the year
is a distance we’ve traveled in circles. Which is to say:
this is how we danced: alone in sleeping bodies.
Which is to say: this is how we loved: a knife on the tongue
turning into a tongue.
I love incorrectly
There is a solemnity in hands,
the way a palm will curve in
accordance to a contour of skin,
the way it will release a story.
This should be the pilgrimage.
The touching of a source.
This is what sanctifies.
This pleading. This mercy.
I want to be a pilgrim to everyone,
close to the inaccuracies, the astringent
dislikes, the wayward peace, the private
words. I want to be close to the telling.
I want to feel everyone whisper.
After the blossoming I hang.
The encyclical that has come
through the branches
instructs us to root, to become
the design encapsulated within.
Flesh helping stone turn tree.
I do not want to hold life
at my extremities, see it prepare
itself for my own perpetuation.
I want to touch and be touched
by things similar in this world.
I want to know a few secular days
of perfection. Late in this one great season
the diffused morning light
hides the horizon of sea. Everything
the color of slate, a soft tablet
to press a philosophy to.