In the San Francisco
of my twenties, we were like trees
pressed against each other, larger
than what we longed for.

My eyes had learned to say
the sound of us, to caress it
with my ear. I was thrust into a body
without its own perimeter.

The unknown hands
dug themselves inside of me,
lifting up the memory of what
had once been dune.

So many times I returned
and formed a different kind
of weather. I was a creature
unraveling in that dim basement.

I recognized someone I knew,
but he stood in the interval,
a citizen outside his name,
inside the hands and sweat

of strangers. My body mixed
with time itself, emerging
in a different city. My skin
expanded, overlapping

with men who moved up and down
like grasses in the wind. I was
a non-place. I was a backlit
reservoir of made-up story

swinging off its hinges.
A man is almost only water.
It spilled into my cup
of shame. I fed on what his body

spit out. To dream of him
taking root inside me. To cruise
is to coast, allowing the vehicle
of flesh to be carried forward

to that park, the tread of shoes
on sand at two in the morning.
A flickering country, a sky
without a flag to suffocate it.

Brent Armendinger
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