artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own

but it is valentines day
and i need my copy of e.e. cummings
selected poems bearing sticky notes

to send you a text message picture
of the first book of poems i gave you
the us before either could more than hope

finding there marking one poem
a piece of copper the size of a business card
stamped with “SNOWFLAKE” and “LOVE”

an artifact of lost love
once carefully made just for me
hoping metal would not melt like snow

i can never find the books i own

fearing loss is almost as bad as loss
as i scanned the bookshelves over and over
like waking from a dream about a lost love

i have surrounded myself
with so many books i will not organize
barricading myself against that which must pass

i have not yet collected enough objects of you
always joking all you want is everything
although we know there is nothing funny about that

so i spent valentines day chasing books
and memories of the us before us
like feeling the rough edges of a copper rectangle

an artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own
but i found you

i found you

—P.L. Thomas


the water (we could die)

the water is so cold we could die in it
the same way we could die
just driving home innocently enough

you remind me of all the things i won’t do
drowning as i would while refusing to move
never lifting a muscle to risk this living

at night water appears black and white at distance
and night driving is performed with tunnel vision
as if any living is something other than illusion

your hands and feet offer bare palms and soles
like invitations to everything that could matter
unlike cold riverbeds or barren blacktop highways

this diving in driven to risk and happiness
cannot be muted by mere water or asphalt
cold and lifeless unlike your hands and feet

instead you take my hand leading me through darkness
stepping softly toward warm dry light whispering
the water is so cold we could die in it

—P.L. Thomas