The moon is hanging heavy on the branch of horizon like bruised, imperfect fruit.
That’s how I wanted to start saying what I need to say, but these days everything feels heavy with concentric rings of cliche, like each image has been growing in a forest of images and I can’t see the original nouns through the forest verbing madly. My professor says these nouns and verbs and adjectives are like sun-ripened fruit, ready to be plucked for our personal use but I feel like I don’t deserve something my hands haven’t planted themselves. I’ve never wanted to eat well without calluses and sore feet.
But the moon is still hanging heavy, more like a teardrop or an idea now. She’s resting her month-sodden head on the horizon where the sound of coyotes keeps my housecat fat despite her wild inclinations.
Tonight over tacos and moderately-priced tequila I spilled the contents of my heart and the entire bar fell in love. Last weekend over brunch I spilled the contents of my heart and the disillusioned believed in love again. Yesterday and last week and six months ago I said I look for you in every poem, I hear you in every song and my heart said yes, yes, yes. It is hard to be far away. It is hard to know the weight of every day without the cool touch of your hands defining its shape. It is hard to exist in two places: the real, and the somehow also real. The here and now me, and the somehow also me which is actually you so far away.
Tonight the moon was hugging the city’s skyline like she was lonely for something untouchable, like your skin. Whenever I am lonely I get in my car and I put on track nine of that CD I bought at a Portland house party the night my name was misspelled on the posters but I still felt like a celebrity. You didn’t know me then, but I was becoming this person you call so sweet and darling and precious moonheavy baby.
Today I tried to explain to a foreign exchange student how the word “elicit” pertains to abstract things like thoughts, and questions, and ideas. Tried to explain how grammatically a doctor does not elicit tumors from a patient's chest cavity, though the word technically means “to draw out.” I didn’t know how to tell her she was writing poetry, not rhetoric, and it was beautiful if incorrect.
The moon elicits coyote speak. Elicits poetry. Elicits my head hanging heavy. Your voice elicits the heavy I carry like something aching and beloved. Your skillful hands. The tumor in my chest cavity. This is technically (grammatically) incorrect, though you draw it out of me like water from a deep well of longing, and this too feels cliche but in a beautiful way.
Yesterday I unpacked my heart and cried for the distance which quantifies itself in both miles and time. Tonight the moon elicits a feeling that is heavy like an idea, or my head, or the weight of you missing from my bed each night. And everything is easier than I had thought that everything would be. And everything is harder than I had guessed that everything would be, and I can not now imagine your real hands for they would somehow not be real. The calluses and scars I want to suckle like hard candy and savor the sweet fruits of their productivity. Even in this land of perpetual sunshine, I crave your artificial blue skies and bathe myself in the warmth of your theoretical twinkling lights.
Tonight the moon hangs heavy and you are far away under that same heavy moon and I am missing you and somehow this is poetry.
When I am lonely, I drive and I listen to track nine and I sing along with the full-bodied voice of the unashamed saying Don’t let it get you and I. The it is the lonely, and the it is the heavy, and the it is everything ugly I could imagine unfurling in the one thousand miles between where my head hits a pillow heavy with the sleep that yours refuses. In my dreams my heart is nourishment between your teeth, putting energy into your bloodstream, and I still fear you end each day with an empty belly.
Tonight the moon is soft yellow flesh you could sink your perfect teeth into. My heart, the moon, your teeth, nourishment, and all of this is to say I love you. Even when the dark creeps into my fullness like a bruise. Even when I hang heavy like dirty laundry drying across one thousand feet of telephone line. Like the sound of a gunshot on thin air, violence so easily mistaken for celebration.
All of this is to say there are only three sleeps between my head and your pillow. That everything without you feels one-dimensional and cheap, like swallowing a wafer each Sunday with no belief in god, and I’m not sure you can appreciate that imagery but it is important to me. You are a salvation myth that I finally want to believe.
My poetry professor says The nouns that are used are yours to be stolen. I respond bullets, immortality, patience, sorrow. I respond honor, industry, paths, winter. The moon hangs heavy. This is to say I miss you.