For Laida

Everyone you love
is visiting you. Everyone you love is
with you in a house
in LA. You tell them Don’t
water the plants. No one
will know. I won’t
know. This isn’t my house.
The situation is
you have to tell each
one of them you love them. It’s
simple. You have never
had to do something
so simple before. By night
the bed-covers
are covered with lemons
and salt. Everyone you love
is watching Il deserto
rosso in the garden. When
the film ends the corners
of all our eyes are white-
red-gold from looking
away from you. Every
night we tell stories where
no one dies except
the dead, who keep dying
when the door shuts. You
retell the same story each
time, checking
if it’s still extinguishable. Your first
friend makes a gesture
by your bed like her
memoir getting colder, harder
to read. The
bed slides. The landscape
floods the room by adding
the horizon
away from it. Like
public baths, cactus-
flowers drenched
in sweat. Like the bookshelf
crumbling. It’s life
that we were recreating. It’s life
that we could live
by fleeing. Everything
we love
is fleeing with us. Everyone
we know. I love you,
you say to your last friend, the one
you don’t love yet. The candles
are flowing all over the leaves
on the desk. You stretch
out your hands, knowing
there’s nothing
to catch. I wrote
this poem to you, not so
you could read it but so that,
secretly, we could talk about the future
behind the lines while
someone else reads it for us.
Every line an excuse, one more second
with you to talk
about the future, that part of it that
gets buried by language
like unused light. Not
the language that speaks but
the one that turns, the one filled
with burning
glass jars, the one
that escapes back, like a camera
in a room-zone it doesn’t
want us to leave.