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He was never
all where he was,
and that defined him.

He was a country of
contradictions, a thirst
and a glass half full,
an inevitable denouement
in reverse. Loving him
was a doomed adventure

and I knew that,
as we sat talking
over the buoyant hours
between midnight and dawn,
our gaping differences and
mutual nakedness becoming
indistinguishable diluted
in the phosphorescent sea
that was Dimasalang at night
right outside his window.

Three years laying claim
to my prolific roses and
my proud, proud thorns
just a footnote
to his timeline

he left his heart
in his native Nigeria
as he followed his mother
to her next chapter

the loneliness we’d faithfully
chipped at together
just a casualty of war
that he fought inside him,
the part I never got invited to

he’d only been sleepwalking
the whole time, and I was only
a symbol in one of his dreams
from his untamed subconscious.

His passions were
slow-burning fires that left
rings of soot on the ceiling
and my flesh sometimes felt
like the expensive paper
he rolled his weed in
after the spirit had taken on
its second form.
He’d talk then about the strangers
he’d met on Taft or Blumentritt,
how it always tripped him out
that their faces were familiar
but their skin was too light.

His silences would descend
between us with little warning,
like ulcer attacks. More than
once they bleached the acacias
along University Avenue
into husks of lost days.

There wasn’t enough
of the pieces he had left
to cheat on me,
but I knew he wanted to.
The melody of his pidgin,
when he spoke, was torture
because it always sang
not to other women, but
to the impossible distance
that made them so perfect.
I was the best thing he’d
found on the other side
of a mountain he never
wanted to climb:
I wasn’t home.
Home was bigger than both
of our futures combined,
and this moment was
a cramped box in
a warehouse of cramped boxes.

We held on only
to the charm of anomaly.
As meaningful as eclipses
are to gathered roses.

Image from an interview with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
by photographer Kirsten Miccoli


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