a list of memories that end with you still alive

  1. when the dollop of ink that was once my appendix
    was scooped from above my hip
  2. almost drowning in the riptide
    off Vero Beach, receiving tonsillitis as penance
  3. when I had sex for the 157th time
  4. when you died and were resuscitated
  5. as a decree of manhood never had, I struck my father
    in the ball of his heel,
    a calloused winkle of blood
  6. when I realized I was trans
  7. getting drunk for the first time
    and texting everyone I loved
    that I loved them, which I never do
  8. when you died again
  9. this time, for real,
    I won the spelling bee at school,
    “argument” as the winning word
  10. the second time
    I won, my parents still wouldn’t
    let me go to regionals
  11. when you weren’t given a funeral
  12. I, too, have tried killing myself,
    but remembered a song about selling
    out one’s funeral, and taped a worm
    of gauze to my arm
    to suck out regret
  13. winning a poetry award
  14. winning a poetry award because of writing about
    your death
  15. not hearing you applaud
  16. not hearing you
  17. the one time I cut down a tree,
    higher than the pastel ceiling
    of October, with an axe, wondering if
    the white birch remembers me
  18. when I heard the woman inside
    my body speaking
  19. when she said her name and I saved
    a whole paycheck
    on my end table to legally make it mine
  20. we celebrated half a decade
    without you
  21. crowd surfing limbs of sweat
    toward silhouettes of neon
    before being dropped on my neck
  22. discovery of masturbation
  23. not paying attention
    to crosswalk signs for a month
  24. stole your necklace once, chattering beads
    from the trouthead in my pocket, and after you told
    me you weren’t mad
    when you found out, buried it
    beneath the leaves
    and silt of Chandler Lake
  25. I should have mentioned my birth

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