On the Tip of My Tongue
Meet me at the place where
words collide, where worlds collide.
Where I’ve tasted the future
and spat out the past a thousand times
over and a thousand times again.
There, I will trace you, framed
against the wall, under hot breath
that will melt you into the margins;
another chalk outline, another crime scene.
You took me there once.
(For the first time, really).
You said you didn’t want me
but you took me, anyway.
And, I followed you, like a glowworm
on the woolen, summer air.
Green and palmed, sweat
and distraction. It was twenty
minutes of everything until you
were nothing but dry beer.
Terrible cocktail, you. Like Cello
Lime and Slice. Too much of one,
not enough, the other. But,
when taste buds tire, even
poison is delicious. So, I
refilled my drink until the world
was horizontal. That’s where
I’d find you, waiting.
The pucker and twist went on
for years. Close encounters followed
by closer distances. I’d grow
but, not really. Not the way
I wanted to. Not until plates
buckled and tossed mountains up
between us. Then, no choice remained.
Please note, this invite is
merely a formality. Each night
I find comfortable sleep
in a collection of pleasures and sins.
You’re still there, still twenty-one,
but the lustre has faded.
As has the memory.
Except for the face of that boy;
the one I saw between your fingers,
the one you took to our place.
What was his name?
It’s on the tip of my tongue.
JOSEPH LEZZA is a writer in New York, NY. Holding an MFA in creative writing from The University of Texas at El Paso, his work has been featured in, among others, Variant Literature, The Hopper, Stoneboat Literary Journal, West Trade Review, and Santa Fe Writers Project. His debut memoir in essays, “I’m Never Fine,” is due out February 2023 from Vine Leaves Press. When he’s not writing, he spends his time worrying about why he’s not writing.