THE TRANSPLANTED ORGANIST

You’d only have to ask once
if you needed a lobe of my liver.
Which may be hard for you to believe
because you’re so used
to having to repeat yourself
when asking the people that you love
to leave you whole.

I liked the way you called me “Icebox”
because I was something you’d always wanted
and I reminded you of a time
when people had to work hard
to keep the things they loved
safe.

Do you even remember
what it was like before people could look at you
and know all of the mistakes you’ve made?

I’ve been trying to tell you
for the better part of ten years
that the only way
to straighten your spine
is to believe
that your bones weren’t removed
from your body
and on the day
she called you by
someone else’s name.

Lift your hands off the stove, Love,
you can’t keep living your life
like a little boy
who broke his mother’s heart
the day he told her
he stopped believing
in God.

Our first night together,
we wrote on slips of paper
the most joyful things
we could think of
to see if when we
read them out loud
we smiled even half as much
as we did
on the day
we learned each other’s names.

I wrote down,
“Sea water,
and freshly picked fruit”
and when you read mine
out loud to me,
all of the organs
in my body
wished
that they were
in yours.

What is it going to take
for you to learn
that the swords
hanging above your head
are being held
by your own hands?

How is that I’m the one
who speaks the language
of your ancestors?
But you can’t tell me why
you’re choosing to burn down
your most favorite place
you’ve ever called Home.

No one is a prophet
in their own country.
So stop trying to get
people to believe
in a version of yourself
even you wouldn’t like
if you came to town.
There’s nothing holy
about committing arson
unless you’re setting
yourself on fire.

I deleted your number
last night
because every time I’m stoned
I think can come up with
the perfect prayer
that will mean
you’ll walk back up
my porch steps.

So, now these poems are the only ways
I have of telling you
how I’m doing,
of asking
how your brother is.

The last thing you said to me
was that you were trying
to find your way back
to the man
that I fell in love with.
And I told you
that I was so sorry
for every time
you thought I was disappointed.

It’s just that
I only know how
to need someone
in the same way
they put bracelets
on the ankles
of newborns
to so that no one
will try to steal them.

What if we just went back
to the diner
where I first stirred my coffee
in front of you?
I would have traveled back first
and slipped myself a note that read,
“Don’t let this one leave you.”

I think of you now
when I see the skulls of animals
displayed in people’s homes
or when I hear an ambulance go by.

Often times, when someone
is having the worst day
of their life
someone else
is having their best.

Love you was like being both
the organ donating body
and the person about
to receive a new
pair of lungs.

Either way,
someone is crying themselves
to sleep tonight.