We Already Broke Through That Ice

We Already Broke Through That Ice

I’m all out of pretty words
to paint my dreams with.
I’m down to a caked palette.
Mud & mood ring swirls.
So, here’s some
personal popcorn kernels.

I toss them to you cautiously
across the room filled to the brim
with frigid, empty chairs.
It’s in the parish basement
where they hold bingo tournaments
or celebrate & juggle sobriety
depending on the night.

Your opened fish-mouth,
giggling misses, swerving
neck following a tempo
only I can hear
because it’s in my own jugular.
Your head nod offerings. I know
I have your full attention because
of your stunned silence.

We’re dodging true feelings
like our elders shrunk
beneath the scope of blame.
The art of denial is genetic.
The calling of something
by any other name
other than the one it’s been given.

Church gossip will call this
courting, but we know better
than that.       It’s
your turn to talk, & I’m full
& tight-lipped, ears ablaze.

You would never feed a fire. 
You believe it’s better
to watch a slow burn. 
I grew to appreciate this,
& even fell in love with it,
with all the ashes stuffed 
down my throat. 
     ‘From the forehead 
      to the mouth of abrasions’. 

I’m cold enough now. 
I’m watching
my ingrained illusions 
freeze for better examination.

You say enough to make me
realize that I’ve been
lying to myself.
          This is
          a dream.

You’ll still be gone when
I wake up & the old
worship grounds will be rubble.
There’s bones beneath it,
but no one’s doing any more

Later on when you call me,
I’ll tell you I had a feeling
that you would.     We’ll avoid
our unearthed scars for
three hours & hang up
without saying goodbye.

Photo by Jonny Clow on Unsplash

Published by Jennifer Patino


22 thoughts on “We Already Broke Through That Ice

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