Traveling Back to You
At night I want to get back to you,
as if you're something I lost and could find,
like the old medallion I picked up in Germany,
at the antique store half a block up from Freiburg's
gothic cathedral. I held that medallion
for luck as I travelled miles above countries;
remember how it sat, curled in my hand,
how it buzzed me through the airport in Syria;
the way I watched my hand turn over for the guards,
curl open, my fingers pressed flat;
the medallion glinting with the Arch-Angel Michael
standing above the writhing form of Lucifer,
and my mind singing a noisy, Hallelujah,
as one of the guards smiled at me.
Last month as I lay curled up, chilled on a train
leaving Italy, I dreamt you sliding the door
of my berth open, covering me with your sleeping
bag, moving against me as I slept, waking to your
breath against the back of my neck and your arms
against my chest. I finished unpacking last week
got the last of the boxes you sent from the Island,
the last of what we were, with a note telling me
you didn't like the way I left things unfinished,
the way I left boxes half empty, you didn't like
the way you'd held onto my things for five years.
I sat, motionless, counting the years we've been apart.
One two three four five.
I see it, now, the same motion, my only constant—
packing and unpacking, spiraling backwards,
until they look like the same thing.
Leave your past discarded on trains,
cobbled walkways and basilicas,
inhale foreign language,
small words and phrases
let them sit alive on the tongue;
hours of your feet moving across flagstone streets,
standing in trams, trains, ferries, backing up,
endlessly lost and misguided. You slather
thick cream from foreign tins on toes and arches
and slip your feet between starched cotton sheets,
each callous dreaming in German.
You fill your eyes with brick and stone masonry,
stained glass, mosaics, oils on canvas, graffiti;
each blink filled with doric, ionic,
and corinthian columns. At night, gothic cathedrals
storm across your dreams.
Even sleeping you feel holy water
on your fingertips, the bend of your knees
to another gilded altar, and Christ,
a globe opening on your palm.
You lick him up ask for more.