a faulty camera

they ask me what of yours i want 
to keep: i say your
breath, your eyelashes, the funny way
you said ‘mail’
they look at 
each other, smiling sadly, and 
say, we mean physical things: 
is there a shirt of his you
want? a hat, a book?

there was someone else, after
the funeral: someone else
sounds wrong, like you are still
here, kissing my shoulder in 
the morning
and, i shouldn’t tell you, but:
i took cocaine
and it made a sound in my ears like
tinnitus, like a hummingbird
like the weak scream that comes when 
you have grown tired of crying
so hard

i see pieces of you in everyone,
everything i see, your long foal-legs
on some commuter on the subway, the
golden sheen of your sun-colored
hair on someone walking past
i used to watch, your name on 
my lips, ready to shout: my 
heart raced, fueled by
is it possible? is he back?
before i realized that they would
only ever be pieces, never again
a whole

it is warmer, and i go out
to our little private ocean on
the outskirts of town:
see, the boat, discarded, see, the
fragments of shells, sharp and
unforgiving, layering the 
sand like a carpet; there is 
no hint that we once combed
through them for nearly four hours, 
each trying to find
the perfect shell for the other
i drop to my knees, ignoring
the sharp edges, and pick them up 
by the handful, flinging them 
into the water, every time whispering
for you, every time praying
that each one is perfect

the summer is dying
and i begin to leave the house
i see your friends occasionally, 
and they smile at me without
fail, always asking how are you?
even sometimes how are you
holding up?
tom told me that
you’re not alone, that we all miss him
as much as you, and
remember that you can call any
of us, whenever you need
i want to scream at his
hatefully calm face:
there is no way any of them misses you
as much as i do

it can’t have been this long, 
yellow-bird: almost eight months
(what will happen on a year?)
and i still hurt just as much as
i did when it happened
and it makes me wonder: even though 
they all say that it goes away
that eventually, you feel better; 
eventually, you’ll be able to think of him
without hurting
i don’t believe them
because seeing a tall boy with
sun-colored hair and glasses
(he didn’t even really look like you:
i said your name, and he turned, 
looked puzzled; 
i pretended that i was talking to
someone else, praying with all my
heart that i was)
hearing sufjan stevens croon that
i pretend to cry
even if i cried alone
still makes my pulse spike, makes me
look around expectantly:
i would have never listened to that song
on my own

this is it: welcome to the 
new year; welcome to the anniversary
of it
welcome to 
sitting on the floor of my shower, 
knees pulled up, 
arms folded, 
eyes closed, 
holding everything in like a sob, 
like blood