It is not that you believe in making the sign of X
whenever a black cat crosses, your finger stuttering
the air like a stone across a pond, anointing
our path for safe passage. Nor is it the ritual cheers,
the knock of glass to table before your lips.
It is that I uphold liturgies even after you’ve left.
Even before that, when we were dying
in our own hands, scouring the day for any sign
of good luck, we could not help the rapture,
a rotting sweetness, of our invented superstitions.
Looting motel Bibles. Never telling the truth.
So yesterday, when a book told me do not sing
before breakfast, or you will cry at night, I thought
of the last morning we woke together.
The graze against the cast iron skillet
we seasoned, buried then unburied
in the backyard, your stilted kiss, a burn
rosing my finger. Your impatience with the bees.
No amount of sugar would take away the sting.
One you suffered shortly after mine. Now, I waste
no time capturing the lightning bugs, one between
my fingers under a rolling pressure until its thorax
and abdomen are two. And with its last bleating
light, I chalk fluorescence above the bed.
One glowing body at a time, just like you taught me.