Blotting out the Itch to Cling

By Wim Owe

What does it mean that I can’t control the urge to write you 
from work to tell you that I woke up with my clothes off 
and it rained all morning. You’re cinched around me 
and I’m melting into a fantasy that you’ll call my work line 
just to moan into my voicemail, and shake the lie out
of a professionalism I hide behind.

 I can’t tie my words

as strings around you from so far off any more than I 
can warm you with my distant body. Next to it you were 
Small and fearless. I don’t attach easily, but fly from here 
in my mind. I don’t need to be back in bed to be lost in 
the memories that you left there, rubbing one foot against 
the other.

You have a clear crystal voice that needs to call

my ass and announce the weather, and how the plants 
and bugs around you will like it, how you feel about it 
and what all the gossip flock needs you to be feeling in 
a moment before it passes out of groupmind. I’m doing alright – 
right? How do you remember me? I’m at work, looking for 
a chance to say something nasty with the taste of sweetbread 
and whiskey in my mouth. Your knee stuck out of the blanket, 
chilly in someplace secret. The tingle turns into a tremble.

We spent a week together and I’ve been sleepwalking ever 
since, carried on by the hands of your words.

Your letter tells me your reading went well –

I can picture the anxious half-nap you woke from when 
you called me to tell me about the sun and the wind. Closing 
your eyes for sensibility’s sake, because soon everyone will 
be watching you, you work through the last-minute worries. 
Reading the round of faces, hoping that their focus is for 
the pleasure of listening to you, then bubbling through 
the night, delirious with immense satisfaction, too ecstatic 
in your own skin for the sleep you know you need, tickled 
by the waking dream.

Can you feel the arc of night

stretching over you, slipping through your body, as your 
pulse beats in your ears? The seeming sounds of ceasing music, 
wearing your coming dream like an armour for investigating 
shipwrecks. The poems vanished in a flash, leaving nothing 
but sounds and markings in the books each of us hides beneath 
our pillows. They are the homes of a million different things 
singing to each other long after we have forgotten each other.

Wim Owe is a dual citizen from Seattle living in Victoria, BC. You may have met him in a moss-filled basement suite in Vancouver, a dust storm in northern Alberta, or perched atop a spinning curling rock in sweaty, sweaty Gatineau. He’s had poems in Pages Penned in Pandemic, Peaches and Bats, and Slightly West. For private opinions made inadvisably public, see him on Twitter.

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