the way a red grape tucked in the pimpled skin of a blood orange on the sidewalk after a rain
resembles the taut belly of a fetal bird nestled in its own naked wings, the way
a bicycle tread in a mudslick leaves a pattern like a spine, knotted with vertebrae
and curved with labor, the way a London Planetree thickens and pools at the base as if, like stained
glass, it could melt, the way a marriage stretched across the skin of years softens to take shape,
the way the bodies of two women bend together at the cusp, as if reading, as if in prayer, as if in age,
the way I stand here in the pollinated morning light, tucking your nightgown behind the pillowcase
to smooth the bed, the way I fail, every time, to recollect what it was we found, and what we made of it.
Leila Walker is a queer New Yorker and assistant professor at Queens College. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in McSweeney’s, Hypnerotozinia Polyphony, Synapse, The Gallatin Review, and perhappened.