No (or “Yes, yes, yes.”)

i. When you said you no longer recognized me,
baby,
I burned our house down,
danced chest-to-chest with the flames
to see if that would trigger your memory.

ii. On the fifth of this month, I sat outside on a
balcony in the mild early-October cold and cried
so hard my skin shrivelled with dehydration. You
were leaving on a plane, leaving a whole continent
to mourn your absence, and I thought you were
leaving me.

iii. We peppered the New York City streets
with Eskimo kisses. I think the alleyways and
the street corners and all the avenues will
always remember us.

iv. I still remember the first day we met. Five
hundred and ninety-one days of learning
there is good in the world, and it has always
been here in the form of you.

v. You said you no longer recognized me.

vi. I didn’t know how to understand that.

vii. Yes, I burned down our house that night,
baby. Made love to the flames slowly as they
ate me up.  I swear I tried to shout out “FIRE”
but I could only moan it inside my mouth over
and over, quietly, silently throughout the
night.

viii. I don’t remember much from that night.
I wasn’t myself and I don’t think you were you,
but then I woke up and you were holding me,
lips pressing on my lips, hands shaking and
terrified, but still pushing firm against my chest.
1, 2, 3, 4,
you saved me.

ix. Distance is a liar and she twists our words
around and pours acid on them before they
reach us. We learned that the hard way.

x. You said you no longer recognized me. But
I’m still that cynical hopeless romantic you
fell in love with millenniums ago, and I still love
you with my eyes and my hands and my belly
and all my heart and my lungs and my brain
and my worn-out words.

xi. I still remember the first day we met.
You asked me if I believed in love, and I meant
to say “no”, tried to push it off my tongue with
all my might.

xii. “Yes”. A word so foreign; so estranged from
me; so peculiar and outlandish. Yesses rolling
off my tongue into your palms, into your mouth
and your collarbones.

xiii. The New York City street lights have missed
you – I know. The trees in Central Park long to
breathe in your scent again.

xiv. Take my hand in yours again, love. Rest
your head on my shoulder. In forty years, I
promise we’ll laugh about this.

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