“It Took Time” by Shinji Moon

This is a poem about
how you never get the kiss you want
when you want it;

how time twines around your neck, its thorns
digging into your skin so you can never forget
how clinging to a string of hope, threading it
between your spine, and having it unravel before you
in the span of an hour
is worse than any metaphor about nakedness
that you poets will ever write.

This is my reflection in the mirror. This stanza
is the small gap where my fingers try to touch against
the glass.

You can’t even possess yourself; let alone
the person you see standing before you.

The moon
hasn’t come back from the cleaners yet
and I have nothing to slip into tonight that makes my reflection feel
beautiful.

Time is falling through the hole in my pocket. January
is coming soon, and I have a feeling that he’s never going to fall
out of love with this December.

He’ll still write her love letters. He’ll
send her white orchids on every lonely holiday and pretend
that love is a place you can cross state lines to get back to,

but it’s that time of the year again, and
calendar sales keep reminding us all that we can never get back
to where we once wanted so bad to lose ourselves in
for good.
Shinji Moon

“If I Left You A Voicemail This Would Be It” by Shinji Moon

I almost miss the sound of your voice but know that the rain
outside my window will suffice for tonight.
I’m not drunk yet, but we haven’t spoken in months now
and I wanted to tell you that someone threw a bouquet of roses
in the trash bin on the corner of my street, and I wanted to cry
because, because —
well,
you know exactly why.

And, I guess I’m calling because only you understand
how that would break my heart.

I’m running out of things to say. My gas is running on empty.
I’ve stopped stealing pages out of poetry books, but last week I pocketed a thesaurus
and looked for synonyms for you but could only find rain and more rain
and a thunderstorm that sounded like glass, like crystal, like an orchestra.

I wanted to tell you that I’m not afraid of being moved anymore;
Not afraid of this heart packing up its things and flying transcontinental
with only a wool coat and a pocket with a folded-up address inside.

I’ve saved up enough money to disappear.
I know you never thought the day would come.

Do you remember when we said goodbye and promised that
it was only for then? It’s been years since I last saw you, years
since we last have spoken.

Sometimes, it gets quiet enough that I can hear the cicadas rubbing their thighs
against each other’s.

I’ve forgotten almost everything about you already, except that
your skin was soft, like the belly of a peach, and
how you would laugh,
making fun of me for the way I pronounced almonds
like I was falling in love
with language.

“If I Left You a Voicemail This Would Be It” by Shinji Moon, from The Anatomy of Being