I’m Still Waiting For You Every Night With Ticker Tape

you, glowing under the belly of golden hour in
your hillside dorm room, holding beloved between
your freezing fingers

                                          *

in san francisco, i tattoo one of your drawings
into my forearm so i can carry you everywhere

                                          *

you pass me a roach under the cover of zen
garden bushes behind the campus chapel,
your laugh freezes in the air

                                          *

our mouths sing the ronettes the same way on
different planes, even when you sing whatever
you believe the lyrics to be

                                          *

you went eighteen years without knowing what our
state native fruit is, but, in our corner of ohio,
we do not grow it

                                          *

i went eighteen years without you, & now i’ve
begun planting a pawpaw tree in every place i think
you’ll live even a second in

                                          *

your face, freckled & wind-beaten from tokyo
skies, is in the clouds above the mountains in cave
junction, oregon

                                          *

& i say hello to you from atop a bench made of driftwood
in california while you’re in osaka, a part of me believing
you can see my hand waving at the edge of crescent city

                                          *

& if tomorrow is my last day, & my body has chosen not
to carry me another second, let us lay in the grass at the
top of mount jeez & listen to the juno soundtrack

                                          *

there are so many worlds i have lived in, &, in each one
of them, i am still the poster for rotting boy, unable to enjoy
our dates because of an upset stomach or the lightheadedness
or the radiating pain in my shoulders

                                          *

but you continue to let god catch both hands until he
eats the charcot marie tooth off my bones

                                          *

& i have loved you for so long & i have prayed every night
you will, one day, become so omnipotent you can

rub the small of my back until it no longer has that ugly
curve to it, & i hope you will rearrange me into something

so fragile i’ll break, if you sing an octave too high, or
lose all my feathers, if someone else holds me too long


Matt Mitchell is a writer from Ohio. His words have appeared in, or are forthcoming to, venues like BARNHOUSE, NPR, Gordon Square Review, Frontier Poetry, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others. He’d love to talk to you about basketball.