Color Theory

By | 15 September 2022

Somewhere, there is an ocean. Inside that ocean
is my father. Inside my father is another ocean.
And inside it, thousands of yellow butterflies waft,
dancing and swaying in new wind. All of them,
dead and alive like truths. There is no difference.
I have told the cat purring inside my head that
my brain ran out of cat food. Such disobedience,
these thoughts. These images
that are supposed to be mine, and yet my father
isn’t here to tell me to man up,
and talk to real people. My imaginary dad meant
men, who may have real cats. May be as real
as claw. As glint.
Youth is weird and doesn’t have the ocean,
nor butterflies. What youth has is a man who
turns yellow when I touch him, which makes him
outrageous, but oddly mine
and forever evidence. I met a girl at a party
who looked like a kiss and I pitied her. Some people
look like a blowjob and I pity them even more.
If I look closely, the truth is yellow and will
flutter towards the nearest open window overlooking
billboards and other liars. I try to follow it to know
the hardening theory in my body, saying,
you look like a kiss, too,
the kind people throw at birds.

And I am afraid of absence, and I am surrounded
by its lush perimeter. There is a lullaby that only appears
in yellow. I hum it in the dark of a stranger’s neck.
The morning is precise and full of fruit. There is no
ocean here. There has been no ocean for years. The cat
says she saw a yellow butterfly inside an apartment
I have loved so much I have forgotten it.
She says
she sees it everywhere: inside sleeves, inside palms
pretending to be something else, in the middle
of Sta. Mesa, where I met so many people and remembered
no one who wanted to forgive my hands. I love absence
not for what it is, but for what it used to be. How once
it whorled inside my lungs; an engine that thought
no matter what I was going to be loved.

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