Hammocks

Chris Seko

 

There are stories in and on her body;
And I’ve never been much of a reader,
But if there were a course on sublimities and wonder, she’d be the textbook.
And I’d be enrolled and on time, and these things don’t happen often,
So let’s not pretend we’ve been here and know her.
I’ve been tracing her body in the mornings because shapes seem fundamental in mapping a future.

Sometimes, I wonder whether her hair or her heart is wilder.
I still haven’t decided, and it doesn’t help that both are growing more each day.

And I’ve seen and held and kissed her scarred hand, veiled in a narrative of excuse to pardon his effects.
So I hope he doesn’t think he’s the stronger of the two.

And we’ve never argued, but I imagine she’d plot her points in undeniable manner.
I suppose that leaves no purpose in questioning her claims.
But if it’s inevitable we clash, I hope it’s as beautiful as the waves on the cliffs that I once considered plunging from.
And if we can’t be splendid together, at least I know one of us always will be – no matter how ugly I remain.

There are coastlines in Scotland that I’ve promised her.

From what I know and have seen, her mother is proud and resilient;
And she frustrates like traffic when headed south to see me,
But this daughter of hers holds steadier than my eyes on that smile.
Her father once distant, but now reclaimed.
There are sewn seams, but it seems seamless when I meet him.
And her brothers serve as the foundation from which a woman has grown –
Relied on, and unwavering in their commitment.

I’ve seen her in places – bars and beds and restaurants and the shower.
Her hair, clinging to the entire surface of her face like vines threaded along a building far too young to look so old, but she’s tired.
Because this guard is hard to keep up and she never asked for a lot of this.

I watch her with as much awe as she watches the world,
But I think one of them promises a brighter future.
As for the world, at least its darkness doesn’t dim her spirit.

There is progress beneath these sheets and she breathes the air stolen from onlookers’ lungs.
She is there and limbs dance to be somewhere near, under, on her – resting,
Tangled like the messes I anticipate I’ll make from time to time,
But hopeful like I’ll be in those situations.

She is both balance and balanced, regardless of single-legged, untied-shoe stance tendencies.
And if the future manages to be ideal, this won’t be the last knot we tie.
When she finds her feet and the liquor settles,
We’ll make way down these streets like there’s somewhere to be.

But when there is,
There are long drives across the state – or landing somewhere in the middle;
On these, we navigate roads like each other’s bodies.
We learn exits and turns like we learn one another.
And I swear to God she’s my favorite road trip.

I’ve been mapping her because it seems fundamental in shaping in a future.
There are still places we haven’t been and things we don’t know.
But I’ll be in class – and on time – because these things don’t happen often.
She’s still that textbook on sublimities and wonder,
And I’m becoming an avid reader.
I think she likes the stories in and on my body.

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