What I Remember (I. The First Phone Conversation) Our words were ripe, wild raspberries chosen carefully on a green afternoon. I wanted you to change the soundtrack of my heart. Unbirth Billie’s moan from my throat, help me speak honey again. Your words were palms pressed in prayer, a hand open & offered to me. (II. The First Date: You Bought a Mango) You carried the sun gently, sweet Haitian rain in your palm. dawn’s sugary flesh against the midnight of your hand. I remember the mirror of uprooted fruit. (III. Nothing Left but the Fall) Days running our fingers over each others’ words. plates of yasa and Joloff rice afternoons reciting Shange & Perdomo, coaxing the light back. breathing into me red candles flickering roses, morning glories. Did I ever thank you? Not for the gifts of food or books but for the gift of you? (IV. Fin) How to say good-bye to water, to ocean, to salt, to us, something pure breaking, waves of you still hummed in my skin. 115 Our hands were quiet then, we memorized each other like scripture. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE I remember the tears you spoke, orange candles in your basement, how I listened to your footsteps.