A blue desert, flat and expansive
where dawn is almost arriving,
but never shows up for the party.
The cold sand covers my feet
microscopic fractals of human tears:
tears of sorrow, like the blueprint of a home city,
tears of transitional happiness, like fingers:
Come, touch me. My hands are warm.
Tears of beginning, ending: a glacier, pockmarked and geological.
Tears of possibility, tears of reunion, branches reaching out:
Come, hold me. I forget what it all means.
The particles are so small,
the landscape so full, yet so empty.
If I were still a painter, I’d fill it up
with big things: a blanket, a bird, a violin, to begin with.
I chafe my icy feet with my hands,
wishing that I was something that needs nothing.
But I’m human, I often forget.
I’m still a cup that often needs refilling.
I pick off a charcoal stick
from a burnt-out shrub.
I draw your face.
She’s wearing floral leggings and Keds with holes for soles,
topped with a green, yellow, and purple shirt
and a light-up winged head band from the Hermes parade.
We’ve been drinking beer, peeing in the bushes
of houses on Freret Street and sharing cigarettes.
The men on the floats are throwing glass beads
and flashing-pendant necklaces to her
because all her clothes are screaming:
Here I am!
I wave my hands, like a drowning person
in my black pea-coat, so I blend in with the shadows.
They can’t see me from the garish floats,
even in the brightness of St. Charles Avenue.
Earlier today, we fought
over whether the expression was
To ride a dead horse and To beat a dead horse.
I don’t remember who was on which side.
I only remember she had me
in a headlock on the carpet.
Jessica Drake-Thomas is a recent graduate of Emerson College’s MFA program in Creative Writing and a resident of cardboard boxes. She has a rescue dog, Mia, who has been her companion for five years.