Like the beginning of a bad romantic comedy,
I told him I love you and he said I know.
For most of the summer, the air has been slung
low and buzzing like an electrical wire downed
across the pavement. My mother spent hot months
of childhood with her hands over her mouth,
afraid of the cicada’s white noise, the sound
of their needles sewing shut the lips of girls
who said things they shouldn’t say. Some mornings
his skin is almost gold in the early sun
and I feel like a hunter as I watch him sleep.
We’re told about love—how the heart feels
like it’s blossoming. From the kitchen window,
I can see a street sweeper making a small dirt storm
in the side alley—whirlwinds of dust settling,
resettling. I opened the dishwasher days ago and found
a cockroach bright like a coin on a dinner plate.
When I call my mother, she tells me to run
the wash as hot as it will go and hope
the burning steam and water will drive them
back out through the pipes. I’ve let it go for days
now, afraid to open the door and see
their amber bodies escaping from the light.