Balaenoptera

Nothing less than this.

Balaenoptera by Joshua Bennett

When we are old
Hair the color of tombstones.
Bones,
That sound like wet windshield wipers whenever we slow dance through the living room.
I imagine,
That I will look you in the eye as if there is something small and precious imprisoned there.
And say to you
Darling…Did you know? that a blue whale has a heart the size of a car?
When you reply correctly as you always seem to do when I ask you difficult questions about oceanography,
I’ll probably just laugh, rejoicing over the fact that every time you smile it makes the wrinkles at the corner of your eyes look like six willow branches all lifting their heads from prayer in unison
Wind, humming a somber hymn beneath it’s breath.
Just as our anthem jogs to a close,
And I whisper in your ear,
“How did you know that I was the one?”
When all those well-dressed jackals came galloping to your door, begging for the rights to your ring finger.
What made you lock the deadbolt on your ribs?
Looking them squarely in the face, and saying with joy
“I am saving all of this beauty for a man I’ve never even met.”
Did you ever doubt?
Ever sit in your dorm room and think that, maybe, your soul mate,
had chosen someone a lot more boring, but a lot less picky than you, and opted for the easy way out of a life filled with love.
When I was Twenty-two years old.
Beard freshly grown, An ocean away from my family with the kind of pain that drives men to do selfish barely forgivable things.
I dreamt of you nightly, hunted for your smile in every audience that I broke for.
Hoping that I could literally steal a glance,
Download it onto my retinas and replay the moment our eyes first played freeze tag.
And neither one of us wanted to stop being ‘it’.
So we just kept on touching, hoping that father time would give us a hall pass, and allow us to orbit one another forever.
And speaking of orbits, did you know? That there are more stars in the sky, than grains of sand on the entire planet.
And That I would give you either one if you merely asked,
Peel the night from the sky’s skin like the rind of an orange,
Or ask God, If I could borrow the breeze for just a moment, and blow the shoreline of every beach into a giant hourglass made just for us, and say THIS, is how long I will adore the things about you that no one else even notices.
Like your laugh, and how it sounds like a mix of Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock, and two rainstorms singing perfectly in tune.
Those orthopedic shoes, and how they always match your cardigans perfectly.
Those crooked glasses, and how they dangle at the edge of your nose like the legs of two lovers on a tire swing, the last summer they will ever see each other’s face.
The first time I saw your face, I thought “WOW”…
If there were a Gorgeous Olympics you would be a lock, And maybe I would be your key.
And maybe love is a club, that we both got into for free.
And we just haven’t stopped dancing for all these decades because we really like the music in here.
And maybe, if you asked me to, I would crawl through the veins of a blue whale on my hands and knees, photograph that Volkswagen sized heart of hers, and place the picture on your pillow before you went to sleep.
When you ask me about, I’ll probably just laugh, giggling, like I’ve got a handful of diamonds in my throat and say see, I told you.
The biggest heartbeat God ever made and now it’s all yours.

 


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