by Zoe Dzunko

You fall apart
at twenty-two, twenty
five until nine, we watch
new clouds do exactly
what the old clouds did—
still we are arrested
by the sky’s vicissitude.
Things we never do: learn
to control the way we feel.
There was that summer
when I was fourteen
and my neighbors
mother had an affair—
I should have seen it
in the way she sang
that song just so.
Do you regret failing
to undo the damage
of others, or is that just
an easy way to hate yourself.
When I was twenty
seven, another summer
to be expected, kept
falling in and out
of love with my choices
my hair, cigarettes, home
made bread, oil pulled
from walnuts, the jars
with foreign labels
only the adults drag
sparkled once or twice.
I think you know what
that means without me
having to explain it
but let me try: you cry
in a supermarket halfway
through a Jewel song
with milk gleaming so
white in a red basket;
watch your grandfather die
many times in fitful sleep
and wake up with a need
to record his stories—once
he flew that plane through
the Grand Canyon and who
will remember but you soon.
If you know anything about
misattribution of arousal
you might understand
that we are not machines
and I’m not certain we
ever really loved each other.
But running on hunches
I start to accept that
all of my allergies were
programmed by myself.
If you believe this fact:
Toxoplasmosis diminishes
a rats fear of cats to increase
the likelihood of transmission,
perhaps you start forgiving
yourself for those feelings
not yours to control. I believe
I am loved, I believe I am in love
as though you whispered
that truth against my sleeping
face, nightly. If you know
something about failure
you understand why it hurts
to be fucked sometimes,
when one heart is flatlining.
I am often so unsure, I think
if you were to play to me
my own heartbeat and sped it up
at the very moment I imagined
I should feel desire, I would
believe you, even if I did not.

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