He writes the places he's been on my back,
tracing Seoul, San Francisco,fear,
solitude, Boston, Bluefield
along the curve of my spine,
around the foothills of my shoulder blades.
For every place there's a story he longs to forget.
He tells me the successful immigrant masters
the art of amnesia, wanting to block out
the circumstances of his life: immigrant,
only son. I tell him pulling
and pushing is the same motion,
the only distinction is direction.
We pretend what we have is not love,
wrapping ourselves in a landscape
of silk and black hair. We agree
to talk only about what's past.
I tell him I've dipped my toes in the Black Sea,
he says he's fallen in love on the subway,
I tell him about whitewater rafting and autumn
in upstate Maine, he says, I run away.
He appears before my door only at night,
like a teenage boy whose voice is not yet his,
clutching his bag, leaning against the chipped frame.
He brings me daisies and black irises with slivers