michael king

stack of stained pages, redacted love letters, spilling ink, pressing it into tomorrow

crossing, coffee.

white shirt on the
cranberry rug, i am
moved by the way your
eyes hold steady
while you’re listening,
hand over your story
in glimpses, pages
and pages that
lead to a makeshift
picnic on my apartment floor

how do we choose
which fragments of the
road behind us to
show one another, how
do we write a life
over the course of
a single coffee

i don’t know where
your eyes go when
the words dry up, don’t
know a single thing
about the next pages
you or i will write, but
i will sing gratitudes
for the way threads
line up and show
us small pieces of
each other
in the crossing.

mom.

thirteen years old on
a summer afternoon, i grinned
at your suggestion, the
scenic route home, adventure
for mother and son,
passed a murky lake and your
eyes traveled backwards in
time, found the story of the
first boy who made you feel
beautiful, and the notion
cracked my mind open:

in my own mother, worlds i didn’t
know, an entire life before
i drew a single breath

what did you think i
would be on the first day
i wept in your palms, did
you imagine i would
soar and stumble the
way i have, were you
prepared for the times
my words would have
sharp edges, the days
my eyes would
become broken dams?

on the day i realized
the world was going to
screech to a halt, my
first thought was how
to get home to your reach,
thirty years old and running
to the first arms that
ever caught me

i am always carrying you,
into each beginning, into
the moments my hands
shake, into the nights i
am unsure i know
which way to walk, into
the conversations where
my voice is on the
verge of breaking

you are a thousand things
to me and one, all at
once, layered and simple,
too big to be held by words
and a single, clear feeling,
blossoming yellow in
the constant hope