Alaska // by Jennifer Patino
I won’t claim you or call you by name.
You were my last frontier, that’s for sure.
You were the one that didn’t even
have a chance to get away–
before going away
we made so many plans
I waited up for you, did you know that?
–You crossed a frozen pond and showed no fear.
You skated in espadrilles across sand at the run down beach.
You said it was beautiful once. I asked if you’d miss
Florida sunsets. I asked if you’d miss light. You said
you would be more sad about the return of the Sun.
I said I was a night person. You said you knew.
From the bar to that
one girl’s basement, to the top
of the lookout pier
I wrote poems for you after you told me you
couldn’t say goodbye because then you would
have never left. We talked about boyfriends.
So many boyfriends. You too? You asked if you
could put them up on your wall. (The poems
I mean.) I felt like an old fashioned idiot when
I realized they were a digital wall for all to see
and not printed and pinned above your bed
or better yet, copied and written down on stationary
in your loopy script. I only know your handwriting
because you signed my yearbook. I wish
I had a letter from you. I hear you say
“I miss you” in that whispery way you said
“you have soft lips” after the photo shoot.
Of course I can’t hear you. We have yet
to exchange new numbers. (We never will.)
I just have a gift for hearing texts as if they
are characters of my favorite book in my head.
Magenta type comic sans,
too bright, and this is the pre-emoji
era so I was in less than three with you but you never knew
You started modeling. Pin up poses. Pixie princess.
Peasant skirts. Exposed tan belly. I pictured you
in a frozen castle faraway and there you were
in the sunshine again. In the forest again.
In a dark bar again, hiding from the crowd
in the corner, but this time you’re with someone else.
I told no one I missed you. I forgot about the poems.
“The most beautiful things anyone has ever
written for me.” You said. We didn’t talk much
after that. It’s your fault. You displayed us. You
exposed us. You made them look at those
photos a little more closely every time they came up.
You made me re-think Truth or Dare. You disappeared.
Do you ever think about
Aurora Borealis and how
her aura looked just like them?