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August 17, 2021

Two Poems

CD Eskilson

Draft Message to My Sibling After Top Surgery

I watched the video you sent of a roommate’s cat stealing 

   chicken nuggets, cracked up as paws swiped at the tray. 

I know that all is well with you. It took so long 

   to realize we never learned to speak of joy, instead send 

clips to make each other smile. All day I’ve thought about 

   care packages to send but nothing seems to fit. Nothing 

I would send fits in a box, would last the thousand miles 

   to where I left you. It took so long to realize we both hoped 

to escape from home and gender. Yesterday, I saw red admirals 

   flutter on a spicebush and tried filming them—because you 

too float in graceful flight. Amid bruised ribs and drain tubes

   you shimmer, iridescent. You’ve taught me how to dapple, 

to be larger than our family’s worry. Let me gift to you a grove 

   of saplings, their young trunks primed for future. Watch them 

rise and take in sun, leaves dancing in the breeze. From here

   we’ll run off to the beach—the same one where as kids 

you’d bury me in chest-high sand then tease of leaving. 

   This time, we’ll keep running past the waves—over them, 

in spite of them—we’ll stay running at each others’ sides. 


Since Moving from the Beach

What I miss most are boys who’d rip their skateboards
past me on the strand, eyes bright as new bearings,

warm with gloam. Miss boys who’d swerve from tourists
stopped dead-center, dodge the sandy dogs off leashes, jump

crushed vape pods. How they reached warp speed despite
all that tried to stop them. I miss the boy with red wine hair

and Texas Chainsaw calf tattoo I watched almost do a kickflip;
who biffed the landing, cracked his phone, who seemed so happy

being spectacle. Who seemed to part his lips the instant we passed
and invite me in his mouth, who in that instant let me live. I miss

how longing starts inside an instant, lives forever as a memory. I miss
boys making scenes the way I never could, who make me think

I could someday. Boys not offering their hearts but giving them
and moving on, who call that living. Life that I want, too.