after the end

by David T. Gay

after the end

I don't blame you for attending to those born without

perception of the heartbeat between the feathers

of two red-crested cardinals

or between the beats of two tortoiseshell butterflies

or between my fingers and your strawberry

radiance of complex completion

such as that the misty nimbus laid on the gold ore clouds

up where they dance in the wind-jittered sun-fall

After all we were born with the vestigial vena cava of each other

as if a scent of oak-aged cab caught in our nose before we were born

or a trill pecker's chirp hung in our lobes as we were made

or an amphora-bearer's caress soothed the wrinkles of our older souls

smoothed our baby skin and brains and other organs

Nor is it rhetorical when I ask

how many can have this connection?

These two sparkling shards of water diamond flash wet

amid an evaporated memory of the breeze your father's footsteps awoke

a time when the pavement sizzled of oil from cars and tacos

and your crayon rainbow melted and dripped

while the real rain vaulted across the hills

And now you feel a bitter twitch of a servile muscle conveying libations

to soothe the parched mind when the dream of the bed shared

belched its last creamy foam on the beach

It did so solely to remind the one who holds these words

where it was we lived and what kind of lives:

We were sea bird sailors, you and I

wings over the blue deeps

farm laborers with perforated patterns of apple light piercing our straw hats

red woven through the cotton of our fingers catching the prime Amador grapes

bruised by gentleness into rolling to the ground in which the hopes

of our passion wait for Schliemann or a Quman Cave spelunker to unearth

Let us be buried naked

because all our afterlives we'll either be together skin to skin

or if we're kept apart not one thread

of this world will be worth wearing