CIRCLE BACK

KAYLA KING

 

There was a stretch of time when those coins
were everywhere. You’d pluck pennies from street
corners before pocketing them. One English pound settled
somewhere in the bottom of your wallet, but now it’s disappeared
to the place where all lost things go.
 
But there were other magicks safeguarded
in a circle; in a spool. Remember, you wrote
caldera on an old receipt, and kept it for too long.
And you still imagine being hunkered down in the hollow
of collapse while enclosed in another’s arms. But these
are real to be sure.
 
Trace the small crescent on his forearm. A burn, he once explained,
citing coffee cups, but never truth. In the ink of hours cast
in a haze of 3:46 on the bedside table, make the time to map
the apartment. Constellations of t-shirts litter the floor. Tomorrow
you’ll dig through, unearth the one you’ve worn in
all through the fall. Tomorrow
will be the
longest
 
day of the year. And archaeology is more than digging
up bones. You know if you ask he, too, would sink to haunches beside
you to find the shirt and the coin and the promise of life beyond this space.
He would say: You still have a thing or two to learn from the Greeks.
It won’t be an empty statement, because he’s already memorized
the words, they way they find flaw
against your forehead. You’ve mastered the warnings
in myth.
 
Sometimes, he cites snakes in your hair when it’s too tangled
to work the bristles through. And it’s not a joke, never to jest. Maybe he fears
the wrath of the woman maimed
by love.
 
See it now as he sleeps, holding too tight. But encircled
in his arms, remember there’s more. He is not a caldera,
never a lost coin. He will never be enough
to keep you from unspooling.

 
 

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