As if life started, not with one color
—womb-dark, or canvas white—
but two in tandem, dancing
like an aspen leaf, or a thousand which turn
wind into a color, blushed texture of air
arriving on your skin a moment afterwards,
the way at age fifteen a girlboy sees you
seeing them, their glance holding
full the throat's emotion. Whisper
fingers through their hair, head leaned
listening on your lap, eternity
drawn and shimmering the spine.
And all while talking of something else
unnecessary—God perhaps or Magic—
playing cards instead of evening worship,
walking midnight to a fountain downtown
holding hands, that age where the world
is still creation, collision
of water and light standing still.
Myth untouchable and oddly true:
That was Indianapolis. That was 1996.
And if I put my hand into that water?
Male hand or female hand, shimmering
between that moment and the ache
of twenty years. Moving back and forth
across the continental divide, my old
different loves. The fine hairs
tickling our bodies, uncertain
in their yield and give: God kissing
both of us all night without existing.
CAVE WALL PRESS, LLC
Erik Jonah has work published or forthcoming in Ecotone, Five Points, The Hopkins Review,
and elsewhere. A nonbinary writer, they were a finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold
Award for New Writers. Erik has taught in the Bronx, in Ohio, and at a school for
runaway and homeless youth in Eugene, Oregon.