Circle

Annabelle Norton

The time you held me in your arms, 

Fingertips touching, wet garments scattered  

And damp hair matted, 

We were the scent of saltwater  

And your grandmother’s tequila. 

I was the owl you found broken  

On the side of the road or the mite-ridden cat  

That we rescued from the lakeshore, 

Brought into your bed so I didn’t die alone.  

I wait for you like a dog in traffic, 

Your speeding tickets between my teeth. 

We drink orange juice and water from an empty vodka bottle.  

You gave yourself tattoos, Saturn and the moon. 

They turned out misshapen circles 

But I like them. 

I touched you through the water, your shoulders sheltered  

From the wind. It’s an hour and fifteen for fifteen 

Minutes of Valentine’s Day.  

You drove to find me, or did you just want to drive? 

I keep your suede journal on my dashboard, your feelings 

For me are locked in your glove compartment. 

You and I are passing through each other,  

And you are leaving me behind. 

You pray to a poster of Stevie Nicks 

And I would buy you a prayer  

Candle if we make it to your Gemini spring. 

So, I’ll buy expensive coffee and pretend 

To write something profound about you. 

This poem is about you.  

This time it means something, you said. Or  

It didn’t mean anything before.  

I couldn’t pin you down on paper 

Anymore than I could preserve a butterfly.  

Pining for the moon, 

I’d give it to you in return 

For a moment of your time. 

You are water sliding between Phoebe’s 

fingers. Two girls in short skirts roller skating,  

Hold my hand so we can only fall together.  

Spring 2021