These Are the Ways the Past Shapes Us

What did he mean that morning after we kissed and twisted and curled then woke up and spoke for a few extra minutes before rolling out of bed to start the day? I stood washing the morning’s coffee cups by the sink watching a hummingbird beat the air near the perennials through the window.

He walked over, large hands on my bony shoulders, put his lips to the back of my neck and whispered                                                                                    try not to think so much today.

Another time we sat across from one another at the kitchen table, two coffee cups propped and cooling between us. He insisted they were just words, just words that didn’t matter. They were just words, they didn’t matter, he said, to excuse himself from his behavior, to a writer, to a poet.

Try not to think too much today.

I half-smiled, hypnotized by the buzz of the hummingbird outside. He turned off the faucet and wiped dry his hands. I remember I said the hummingbird and only the hummingbird had the ability to fly backwards. I can’t remember if he responded.

Abriana Jetté’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in River Teeth, PLUME, Barrelhouse, and many other places. She is the editor of the 50 Whispers: Poems by Extraordinary Women anthology series, which debuted as a #1 best-seller on Amazon. She teaches at St. John’s University and the City University of New York.

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