I. The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree
Everything in your apartment smelled like rosewater and oranges. Sometimes it smelled like black licorice and your perfume or grated cheese and ginger but it never smelled like anywhere else. When you lose your breath, you speak in circles and hear things that aren't there. When I lose my breath, I speak in circles and hear things that aren't there. For years, I could not bear the weight of you or the sad irony of genetics. I found your loneliness prophetic and haunting and trite. I watched you grapple to hold things, always. I watched the fruit rot in your tiny kitchen. You'd always pare off the brown spots and eat it anyway. No one lives with you. No one can answer the phone when your ears are ringing.
I can't remember what you look like in daylight. All my memories are in hushed evening mutes, ghost tones, clouded in anxiety, filtered in desaturated colors. There were poems, though. There was romance and rhyme and everything else I thought love was made of then. At performance practice, you made her recite the same line repeatedly until anger could swell in it: You're like a peach, you bruise easy. A few days later, I walked out in a snow storm to get milk for our coffee. When I returned, rosy-cheeked, ice in hair, you were reading me again. You're a peach, you said, joking, reaching.
When you left, the whole street flooded and you did not say good-bye. I was calf-deep in water. Things were lost, everyone cried, the key broke in my hand. Your car was parked next to ours. You kept slamming your trunk shut and ignoring me. I am a peach, I thought.
III. The Harvest
It hasn't been summer here in at least six years. I'm starving. Love bites fade and loneliness is trite. There are a thousand faces besides yours left for lamenting, but yours always seems to fit. Did you know: I broke her car keys. They snapped when I tried to turn them; no one knows why. We fixed them, but she never came back. I can plant seeds until my fingers bleed but nothing ever grows.
The fruit rots in my tiny kitchen. I pare off the brown spots and eat it anyway.