for jordan

I remember the way your locs dangled

over the edge of my mattress in Brooklyn


We lay listening to Rihanna on my laptop

on a Tidal free trial

Kiss it better

the electric guitar that seems to pull us

toward one another

a guitar riff running

a coarse, gruff melody

a chorus of taunting


Why, after years, had you returned to me

under this Brooklyn blood moon

after long email letters, then silence

a soft disappearance leaves me

mute,

yearning for another crescent


I think of you

whenever i hear that song in my car

I sing along to the lyrics

And I almost cry

remembering how smooth your skin was

how your nails were trimmed down so clean

how you leaned into my laptop, almost surprised

by this Rihanna track

the audacity of it- the salty verve


I almost cry because I remember

how crisp the sheets were as we sat on the bed

how the red light from the fire station down below

froze memories onto our skin


I almost cry because I know

you will never hear this song again

now it makes me think of water

how it swells

gushing and still, leaving our skin like brine

sea water and your locs

against sand and stardust


What happens to a song

when you’ve left this realm

when I hear it, I hear us in that Brooklyn room

over an unruly guitar

exhaling deep rings of smoke

after an evening of arguments


If I hurt you, I am sorry,

and with no way to tell you in this life

I throw kisses into fog


You had finally returned

and so had Rihanna

victorious

over a love

that felt fresh and warm, a soft bread

a cloth to tug and fall under

you were ready to fall

I miss you


I miss how much you loved music

discovering new tracks

moving your face back and forth

on quarter beats

your body born to it

a pulse I still search for


Why did the water have to take you



~Nijla

12/31/2018