Dear acclimation to adolescence,
to aerobics and aerosol, dear age
of consent, dear abandon, dear all-night
altercations, dear array of ashtrays,
arabica, aspartame, dear artless
auditions for antidepressants, dear
avarice, dear annus horribilis
(advent of anomia), dear abyss,
dear anyone, anytime, anywhere,
anywise, dear auld lang syne: au revoir,
aloha, adieu, adios, avaunt.

            —for Melisa Grisel Bermúdez Torres

You don’t live outside the building—it’s the inside
that says, I’m strange, mixed. I can’t know who I will be
when I leave this certain place for other colors,
textures, scrap iron for wood or find myself filled
with natural light, as through a window without
a frame—just the glass, pure.
                                                            What you were to me first:
dark shoes, scuffed, dark socks. We look down, so hard to meet
our faces. But I cannot escape the ascent:
frayed cuff of your jeans, flex of your right hand, sliver
of silver chain that slips under your collar, soft
down of your cheek catching the sun, humbled by clouds.
            my family would say it’s impossible.
You don’t live outside the building. I’m in my room
so much, so inside.
                                    When you lift your chin, I see
your neck stretch, your throat open, as if you would sing
to the wood planks of the ceiling, the way I sang,
breathless, my body inside the earth, the waters
of the cenote opening me to the mouth
of the sky, droplets trickling from its lips.
                                                                          How much
is my ignorance? I haven’t yet learned to pay
attention to what’s in front of me at the time.

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