The Tropics, by Alma Linda Martinez
In the evening when the boys have
gone to be with you my fingers
trace the edges of book bindings.
I trace them like old memories of
when my brain was part of what
connected me to my most
How we lived with our heads
dangling for so long is a
mystery only explained by God.
He knew my heart needed
tethering to someone who could
enfold and protect it.
Whose gaze could build me up
like a clutch that had
been worn smooth from
too much shifting.
Shifting because the world was
a Rolodex always spinning
while I searched for the
number to call home.
You held me safe there with
my eyes half open
refusing to see what I
knew was there all along.
My hand finds the title,
“Starved Stuff.” The irony grows
a chuckle from my belly,
soft and jiggling from too many
nights of chocolate grazing.
The man whose words kept us
together also spoke words that
began the unraveling. A snag not
fixed by gently tugging,
We were never meant to be a sweater.
Maybe a vest or scarf, but the sweater
was too big for us.
We were kin to the tropics, and this
sweater scratched on salty slick skin.
Don’t think I didn’t love you.
Even with the sandpaper of your face
when you kissed me goodnight I
Even with calloused fingers that
traced my sensitive shoulders I
I wanted to be more fit for the Arctic.
I wanted to stay wrapped up in you
with your flesh warm and inviting,
but I am not fit for cold weather.
I am made for barefoot and
sunshine bearing down on my nose.