On days like this
when April still keeps
a chill in the air that
pushes blossoming tree limbs,
you are watching the gray sky
and leaving udometers around
your backyard, waiting for
the clouds to open to your will.
You draw forecast models in
chalk on the white cement of
the back patio while I lay,
a low system, on a blanket.
The ants and bees are desperate
to hide, feeling the pressure
build and I hear them scatter
like tiny witnesses to a crime.
My fluttering eyes open to a drop
and your hand pulls me up from
the earth as the downpour engulfs
us, your cylinders filling with
promise, you stop me just before
the canopy to kiss the water
streaming off my nose, watch it
bead on my smooth arms.
The moment measured beyond inches,
we lower our bodies back to the grass.
History tends to repeat
I remember the last time
you spent the night curled
away from me in my bed.
That last time you split me
and left me on my back
Your back was an open atlas
all highways and road signs
but no end point.
I studied the routes through
Your knees bent and ready
to spring yourself out at
5am, to steal my last
strawberry pop tart,
to wrap yourself around a stranger.
My stomach was a cluster of noise,
a termites nest.
One eyed morning peer
and you were already halfway
to your white picket fenced life.
I am still a contradiction.
I am still a half empty bed.
Naming the dead
I wonder if her face was round
like mine, if she would have
come out wailing like I did.
They didn't let me see her.
My mother hardly spoke of her,
or the shape of her lips and
I could only picture her covered
in blood and her eyes filmed over,
maybe brown like mine.
It was a finality:
she would not get my old dresses.
I would not braid her hair under
the maple tree in the backyard,
her long blonde strands gleaming
in the July sun.
A week after she was buried,
I asked my mother why we
name the dead.
Taylor Copeland is the founder and
co-editor of Decompression, a female centered poetry zine. She
most recently was published in Drown In My Own Fears and has
work coming in Up the Staircase and Metro Mag Voices. When not
splitting time between a full time job and part time classes,
she listens to music, reads obsessively, likes pink things,
drinks too much coffee, drives aimlessly and falls in love too
easily. She is unashamed of all of it.