Delete to Receive

Wendy Lotterman

Too fond of the things I’ve been taught to be fond of. Kind to bees and dogs off leash, an unnecessary custodian of the animals that surround, high, divided, wrong every time, towing the insensate center toward the poverty of its original cause: that sex is how you get here and why you will eventually leave, having remained technically aware but functionally blind in the meantime for want of a different desire unknown to the documented tastes of home and safety, ready and edible to the crowd that surrounds, alligators unable to give love but radiating a name you insatiably accept, as if it were good to take care of that imaginary life or the resident consensus to whom it belongs, ignoring yours, clearing debris from a body of shame in which the legs will inevitably give out, leaving you to say “yes” to the resident angel who asks if you are drowning off the coast of your responsibly buoyant home, vomiting gold mesh amenities that can’t hold your sequin dream as you wake up screaming, soaked through the unzipped cotton hoody placed beneath your waist that belatedly refuses to save you as waste makes its way to the mnemonic bottom of the mattress, releasing your formerly invisible crush, now documented in the sheets, insisting on saving the life that remains as you continue to toss in only one of two ways so that each cheek expires, vacations, and returns to work on the double-sided face of a confession not yet ready to be made, promising to vacate the excess it holds by itself, mimicking the seasonal storage of fruits, hoarding the impossibly forested future like squirrels gone wild while arresting the wrong side of the sidewalk, bringing good lives to ground in the miscarried tragedy of bad recognition, missing your face for the trees that hold secrets in canopies of 3-D leaves as we seek unseen immunity and idols beneath the least most-populated plaza where gravel remembers the skin of your cheek, and the depression of rocks is a mnemonic lost as soon as we walk, commuting across those same streets among others unable to breathe, rolling through the space that remains of a not-so-distant cloud on the verge of maxing out, filled with variations of ordinary sunsets and faces too intimate for deletion, rising to the brim of its ability, unable to save anything beyond what it already contains, failing to testify to the face of this loss, dying of heat but unable to join the hotspot as a moment of life or death is forgotten off-screen, intentionally or accidentally ignoring the breach of a historical border between the secrecy of heat and the cold hostility of the street against which you feel each of your cheeks let go of the fruits that you keep, dying for a love you can’t reach, too intimate to be deleted or freed, screaming in your sleep, meeting your brim then receding, intentionally or accidentally forgetting to speak or remember the rest of you, as you rest very far from peace.