This story began like any other:
you were written in my margins when I wasn’t looking.
We spent our midnights awake. Falling stars caught between
window panes threading the black sky, a hint of adventure gracing
the corner of your mouth, and I wanted to see
if I could learn to mimic the rhythm of your breath before you woke.
For years, we lived in a magazine. We didn’t understand the curse of the maple tree,
the postage stamp carving in the bark of the wood, waiting to fade.
I spent a week collecting petals to fill up your ashtray.
Our notes were scribbled on graph paper; the grey boxes a chess board.
Every letter you stitched into the sheets was one move closer.
Sometimes, we hold on too tightly and we burst.
Some nights when you called, I let the phone beg until the last ring.
Then the phone got tired, and it stopped asking for attention.
Now we will never know the joy in combining libraries.
My slender spines of poetry will brace the shelves
in a different town than your thick historical volumes,
but they’ll live without the fear of having to make small talk at cocktail parties.
The first night of our first summer,
we sat in your grandfather’s truck,
arguing over the proper way to hold hands,
just for an excuse to touch skin,
and the radio hummed for us.
That’s the way history goes:
we tremble, but we never go to sleep.
Carly Magnolia Buckholz studies at the University of Virginia where she is in the Area Program in Poetry Writing.