Last lifetime, we sat at the river and traded teeth, as children. / That was the third time I met you, the first / in the day light and not the last / at the edge of a river. Tonight, / I have lost count of the lifetimes / I have you graze your fingers over my ankles, / my feet propped on the rungs of / your bar stool. / I pay the bartender for your beer with / teeth and you remember the first time / your hands shook in the dark. / We leave that bar for the eighth time / to find a river, or a clear shot / of the moon, because you like when my limbs / are wet and well-lit. / Because everything I write about you / comes back to the first handful of teeth / you gave me, even when we’re not / in the same lifetime. / Because in every bar, you know it’s me / when I tuck my sneakers / between you and your seat, / a knowing pressed so tightly between the layers / of these lives. Because / I always go looking for your teeth, / your mouth, to try to convince me the river’s edge / means more than the mud. / Because there is meaning in these people / we are each time, pockets full / of teeth / that I wouldn’t trade with anyone / but you.
*Originally published in Velvet Tail