by Darrell Dela Cruz
-For the Watergarden
The pain has no singular outlet,
dispersed amongst the nerves amplified in the spread
which you rub as though you can
control the collateral damage
of earthquakes. Just lean
on the jets in the hot tub, the strength of being pushed away
and pushing back just enough
to settle into a controlled
numb. A conversation amongst smoke fogging
every time we continually
undiscover each other. To never know
and need the alphabet
how I place my knee below your crotch
as you trust me to lean my lips onto you
to encapsulate our language like a self-contained virus.
To test me. To test me. To test me.
We view the intimate as a thing
not specific. How can we trust a protected
hand to touch us spiritually? How can we
adjust our television sets to allow
that same hand to push through? Caress us. Enough
for me to whisper let go and for you to
mouth a goodbye. Wait at the station,
don’t cry. Bruises documented like those going
through Angel Island, their body exposed
like they are sinners to white dressed helpers.
A color that represents death in another language
where one can only can speak between fingers.
There are too many rings
on your keychain, each to separate
which place you can enter/leave: your husband’s place,
your place, your car, his lockbox. What is the sound
of keeping? In “One Art,” it may look like
a disaster to keep track of lost things: his birthday,
the last time you said you loved him, how
to reconcile the distance between islands
and cities. But we continue leaving/
meeting. Our bodies, mine/yours
disgust you. Don’t insult the person
I love I tell you. We are not fixtures.
Darrell Dela Cruz’s work has appeared in Saw Palm, The Minetta Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Studio One. He has a blog where he analyzes poems: retailmfa.blogspot.com. He graduated with an MFA in Poetry from San Jose State University.