Anchor

Anchor

Image result for anchor renaissance drawing

You with a tattoo of an anchor on your arm,
you pin down the ocean
like the snow pins down footsteps
of all the strangers who walked there before it covered the ground

All the same, you bound me effortlessly
and without knowing

because you are
the winter light that steals through
the holes in my coat
the shadows of the stray cats that live under the steps
the silence trapped under the ice
and the dried rose petals that were my voice

You swept them off the windowsill
but the vase still stands there filled with time

All of these things have become essential

Though I was only a silhouette
my fingers balanced on the balustrade
and feathers woven into my hair
I brought the cold draft in with me
when I came back inside

And you
were a joke I told that fell flat at a cocktail party
that I carried home in a cardboard box
like a small animal with a broken leg
I could love you in the same way

You gather all the shrill points of light
when the cars move past your basement window
where you have buried your bed
under your body
and all the boxes full of unfinished letters
they bide their time inside
your fortress of closed lungs

I’ve seen the way
you are afraid to speak to me
You hold your tongue
like a banjo holds its tune

I was cold
but I chose not to put on my sweater
because I wanted you to see my bare arms
and realize that I am vulnerable. I also planned
the way the hours moved across the walls,
the wrinkles in my dress,
the way the bridge rises
to let the ships through,
and the manner by which you left through the back door
of the cafe
before I had time
to say
that your eyes make the same sound as rain
on the steps of an old wooden church by the seashore
that I fell in love with when I was a child
and still believed in ghosts
that wear the skin of lost lullabies