the first boy who doesn’t love me back laughs himself across the bridge and tells me to hold my breath. he holds my elbow as i step up onto his skateboard and i tell him i must look stupid for trying. the park benches are all green and empty. he does not understand because he is not afraid of looking. he tells me all he can see and it is covered in tired, shimmering dust. he grins for anything at all, even falling.

in fall, he lends me his favorite book. i softly hold the pages instead of dog-earing them. i finish it in one sitting and bring it back to him the next day with my bookmark still inside. he brings out rain-splotched tarot cards and tells me to pick one. he and i fall asleep on my couch in my farmhouse watching Downtown Abbey. he takes me on a hike and i can only remember how sweaty his hands were and that he calls me lucky.

i ask him to go to the winter ball with me and he tells me he has visual snow. i do not know what this means and he smiles because he knows. he wears a tacky gray sweater over his button-up that says he does not know what he is doing here. it has a logo but no letters. i am a guiding shadow next to him.

i slip his fingers underneath the wrists of my black sleeves and tell him to move instead of dance. when the music starts to make him sick and the colored lights start to change too quickly, we leave through the back of the cafeteria. it is a quarter ‘till the sky is all green and empty. i want to kiss him and he smiles because he knows, but i never do.

standing at the edge of the river, wide-mouthed and joyful and alive, i remember the rocks he pulled me across several miles down. i watch him glow and my lips buzz with closed questions in the night. he asks me if i can imagine tv static falling from my eyelashes. i tell him i can often not imagine anything at all.

Allen Means is a queer poet from Boulder, Colorado. He currently resides in Miami, Florida, where he collects love and language, among other things. His work appears in Chaotic Merge and Nimrod International. He tweets @allenWhy

This poem previously appeared in Chaotic Merge Magazine.

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