I was in the hull. The ocean knocked against the doorskin. Memory is a knot raising from the inside of a capsized head. Memory is a ship stuck in a sand barge tiding us over to the next high. I was always in the wrong: a bottle becoming glass becoming sand. Memory is the salt he put on my wound to bring me back. I licked his lips like a memory. I was Peter, my tongue rattling the husband-loosed tooth. I was Greg, the nutchoke in the seed. I was Donald, a pencil full of fists. Memory is a fist turning our face into this wind. Memory is a blacked eye. Memory is vain. I was the membrane between the seed and the shell. I was called skin to everybody who didn’t call me bones. Memory is a scream getting caught in the roof of the mouth. Memory is the seed in a shell. I was in the hull and the ship was going nowhere. Nowhere ain’t going nowhere. I was in the rattling house because ocean say stay woke. Memory is a raise of sails like hairs on my arms. Memory is every hurt leaving a sweatscent. I am still the bloodtrail that the sharks always follow.
I had my reasons. Too many. Then “I love you,” and no rhyme nor. Makes no sense. Now? As I am coming into myself. Now, that I have a self. Know how to take care of myself. Know self-care. You don’t care. See the sign hung out say, “I’m open.” Meant knock to you. Meant ring to you. Meant you offering me another turn. Meant turn. Meant enter. Meant Lot’s wife. Meant shoes on or off, is not the test. Meant I am not presentable. Meant I am not ready for this company. Comfortable. You are. Move my couch cushion to the small of your back. Move my coffee table with your feet so your legs can stretch. You don’t try to outshine my curios. You trinket acting. Like you a precious moment or something. I’m thinking incredulously, “He really made his self at home.” His channel don’t change when I point the remote at him. He stay on the news. And he only talk during the commercial. I clear my throat. He linger like a long cough. The fevered pitch: social distancing is like safe sex. The night sweating. Reasons? Globalization. Trade war. I am ready to apologize for doing everything I did with everybody I did it with it before he show up and he stop me cold. Say the risk is not what he can catch but what he might miss. I am wearing a mask for you. I am trying to keep you safe from me. I am not to be trusted. I am Wuhan. I am Detroit. I am New York City. “He really made his self at home. He really up under my skin. He really jump down my throat.” “And if it’s alright Mr. Marvin. I would like to come back and sit with you in your parlor. I think I might be good company for you. More importantly, I like you. Always did. And if you let me, yes, my shoes off. Don’t have to mean I’m staying. Just mean I want to be comfortable for you. I bring my own whiskey. I got my crosswords or I can hold the yarn you knitting with. Would that be okay Mr. Marvin?” The reasons? I’m 54. Houseplants die. Friends die. But this company is my familiar. Too many not familiar no more. But I’m open and you take me up on it. You don’t choose table or bed. Couch. TV. You news. Make me started thinking new curtains. Sheers. Summer. Windows. Juleps. Fishing trips. Tea cakes. Process theology. Luminous things. Cherry coke. Seven-day candles. CPAP machine. Yes, this two-handed Tonk game we playing without keeping score might just go on forever. If we let it.
This virus is not a snapped tree. This virus is not a conversion therapy. This virus is not a flash flood. This virus is not a older cousin. This virus is not a run over skunk. This virus is not a chicken hawk. This virus is not spearmint gum. This virus is not The Trocadero. This virus is not a briquette. This virus is not Andres Serrano. This virus is not a double yellow line. This virus is not The Castro. This virus is not a dropped grocery bag. This virus is not a rumor. This virus is not folk art. This virus is not a disco themed death party. This virus is not a cast shadow. This virus is not Gaëtan Dugas. This virus is not a puddle. This virus is not a Newport. This virus is not a broken bottle. This virus is not a moral majority. This virus is not a unlucky cat. This virus is not a disappearing trick. This virus is not a bus stop. This virus is not a perpetual indulgence. This virus is not an ant colony. This virus is not a Baptist tenor section. This virus is not motor oil. This virus is not a quilt. This virus is not a candy gold Camaro’s donuts. This virus is not Fred Phelps. This virus is not hopscotch. This virus is not red ribboned. This virus is not a Coors can. This virus is not Sylvester. This virus is not sunflower seeds. This virus is not a Pride Parade. This virus is not a telephone pole. This virus is not an orphaned leather cub. This virus is not a fire hydrant. This virus is not Eazy-E. This virus is not a manhole. This virus is not a long-term survivor. This virus is not an altar call.