Your fingers stretched
and grew into my teenage years,
around the salt shaker—
or what we’d dubbed
Hipster salt. (putting cocaine
on your food numbs
the mouth) You lose
the taste, the way
I lose myself
in hallways and hum
into loneliness what sounds
make a skull nettle
and I pour the boiling
through my ears, watching
the Schizophrenia
drip out. (a gift
from my grandmother)
I imagine your grandmother
in her kitchen, where your mother
spilled the salt and slumped
into a softer life, rather
than watch you collect
the crystalline piece by piece.
You tried anyway. I stopped you
halfway through and we laid
in your driveway.
I told you how all my friends
were dead or did
too many drugs
and you told me
about your mother’s habit
of running. (it runs in the family)
Last month, I saw the pictures
from your wedding
in Norway, and watched salt
spill down your grandmother’s driveway
the way my grandmother’s blood
spills though brain and my brain spills through
my mouth, the words naked and burning:
I’m not mad you left, but this leaving—
it hurts.


J. David is from Cleveland, Ohio and serves as poetry editor for Flypaper Magazine.