Love, First

for Joe

at sixteen
I want to slip

your ribs and
entwine myself
with your heart

I want to fall
asleep behind
your sternum

(to exist outside
of you just
isn’t enough)

this I remember
thirty-five years
later when again

we meet and
hold a gaze
that feels

I have not
since you

to be seen
I don’t turn

or even

you call me
poet not

and hold my
hand as we
drive home

from the shore
purple rain now
on apple music

you don’t say
anything but
I know you

never meant
to cause

and only want

to see me laugh
and for a while
longer we do

Michelle Ortega has been published at Tweetspeak Poetry, Tiferet Journal, Exit 13, Snapdragon: A Journal of Healing, The Platform Review, Paterson Literary Review, Rust + Moth, Humana Obscura, Stillwater Review and elsewhere. Tissue Memory (Porkbelly Press, microchap, 2022) and other work featured at:  www.michelleortegawrites.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: