We changed our clothes behind the RVs on the road.
I was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the sea
swallowed your new Salvatore Ferragamo sunglasses.
They were prescription lenses. Then you got stung
by something with a tentacle floating in the jackal
wet of the Mediterranean, and it was starting to look
like a bad day. You were reading
an article in the New Yorker
squinting in the hard yolk of noon,
your elbows scuttled in the coast of France
while I ran up to the scorching road
for a bag of chips and cornichons.
Our sunscreened bodies glistened like teriyaki
chicken, twisted and shiny on the crest
of St.-Hélène. You drew star shapes
in the sand, wearing a jet-stretch pony
grin and the clothes of an emperor
while behind the sun’s licentious
burn I was silently rehearsing
how I was going to leave you.
I don’t mean to sound so dramatic
but everything changed in the moment
I saw you standing in the airport staring at another man
who was sleeping and not knowing
he was in the presence
of the most beautiful
Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world.
It was a replica of bones,
the airport a kind of sepulcher
in the non-time of space and Starbucks,
reliquary of business suits, which is the real
reason I was late. I was getting a latte.
That’s when I kissed you
clumsily and without the pricks
of flowers in my hand.
I lost the car in the parking deck
thinking we were in K-9
and you asked what was that black
line floating in the sky. You let me
tell you it was smoke from a jet
plane though you knew it wasn’t.
We rode our bikes in the rain
swerving over the backs of yellow
striped eels of the transportation development
authority and cracks in the asphalt from the heat.
At the movie theater an old woman fell
and a crowd gathered around her.
I wanted to stay, to show you
I, too, felt concerned. See? I too,
am sensitive and care about old ladies.
When we got home I pretended to be a T-Rex
gnawing at your neck and clawing
under your shirt, which made you laugh.
You took your shoes off by my door.
The trees outside were cold and bare.
We made love like Thanksgiving dinner.
Then we made dinner. I told you
once I thought I had prostate cancer,
before I realized that it was only the beets.
You told me it was sweet
how worried I was for the old lady.
How I waited there like everyone else.
Later I wondered what it is about dinosaurs
that people find so funny, how after extinction
no one takes you seriously.
In my apartment you perused
the cracks between the books
as though they were secrets:
the mythology of youth
based on fact but lacking
the truth of things unspoken.
You broke a wine glass, which is true,
and I told you in an e-mail that in preparation
for your arrival I did too.
And I did too want to climb the gaps
between the sense and the sentence
between the words
we didn’t say but turned
like pages into swords,
but that is too easy. That is not
too easy, for when I tried to explain things
you just said that Wholeheartedly
sounds like the name of a cereal.
That my attention to detail
was my blindfold to the forest.
After you left I sat on the porch
and watched a puddle hold onto the sky
and while the crooked daylight hung,
watched a puddle fold into the sky,
left wondering then how
do you go back home after
a giant has severed its head.
Daniel Scott Parker is a native Georgian, currently living in Paris, France until he will move to Chicago to begin the MFA poetry program at Columbia College Chicago later this year. He has poems in Marco Polo and The Stray Dog Almanac. He makes excitement.