Loving you is a prayer that wakes me at 3:00 in the morning. Lying in the dark bedroom with you beside me. A cheap knit cap wraps your head, and your face sweats into the dirty pillowcase. Fervent prayers run in lines across my dry lips. Clocks are strung on fishing line across the bedroom, and their palms slap out the seconds. There’s not enough time. There’s not enough time to write out the tomes of my love for you. My tongue curls in my dry mouth and I whisper prayers in the sand. My love for you is a prayer. It wakes me in the middle of the night. I’m always trying to make sense of it. I’m always looking for the right prayer, the right words. I mumble them to myself, lips still, a crazed woman sweating out worry in the dark night. Trains turn over loudly on the track outside our window. The garden we planted together quiets itself now that the sun has set. Remember how we sat with our hands in the pulpy dirt. You shook out the thin net of roots and sprayed it down with the lowest setting on the hose. We had beer cans by our hips. Our legs were splayed like children at play. The chard’s red deepened and threw out veins. Thyme grew thick like a bush. Nervous prayers threaded through the rosemary, and crickets rubbed their back legs together in low whistles. Nightcrawlers pushed through the clumpy dirt. Bunnies trembled in warm piles around tree trunks. Crowns of cabbage bloomed purple and green and took over the garden. Cilantro seeds rattled loose in dry husks when the wind fluttered the curls on the hem of the patio umbrella. You sleep in cursive letters. I feel your soft face when my hands are still by my thighs. You laugh from the corners of the room. Your long underwear pulls between your knees. I pray a perfect prayer for you. My breath scratches. I am restless and want to pull you into me. We’ve been whispering secrets to one another for years and the room is full of them. They pull the air clean and thin. Fine hairs at your hairline stir and wave. They are pale and and I should squirrel them away deep in my ear. My prayer for you is still and slow. It is lazy and there are no good words to hold it. Sometimes it is my brain loving you, sometimes it is my body remembering you. It is like making drowsy love to you at 3:00 AM in a second floor apartment on Beech Street with a man moving wardrobes downstairs. Half awake in the dark, moving mindlessly and without effort. We didn’t have a garden on Beech but the seeds of the seeds of a heavy head of cabbage planted by the murderer downstairs were turning a pale shade of purple as the birds carried them down Union. It’s what birds do.
(loose crimp of a cabbage leaf’s curl)