Unhaloed in the milk bath of another degraded April
you watch rain ash on the fire escape as you finger
the piece of clear quartz he gave you, the body
indented, a hole cut into the center where otherwise
shining should be. A protector stone he offered
on one of the days he wasn’t thinking of the drugs.
A small token he handed you after driving you
to the water for your birthday, then fucking you
in bed at a pace that was not entirely mean.
Then later, his back turned away, the crystal
pressing a red streak into your hand, you saw that
like anything incomplete, this stone was meant
to be carried. That night, he made you a paper rose,
no embellishment, dressed in the lightest paint,
then propped it against the mantle before he
drove north again through the sap and the greening.
You could move from this place but you do not.
You could throw out the rose but you do not.
You wake every morning to the same vision:
dead glue shimmering, wet fins along the stamen.
Matthew Gellman holds an MFA from Columbia University. His poems are featured in Poetry Northwest, The Common, the Nashville Review, Ninth Letter, the Missouri Review and elsewhere. A recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize and a Brooklyn Poets fellowship, Matthew was a finalist for Narrative Magazine's Tenth Annual Poetry Contest and was included in Narrative's "30 below 30" list. He currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Hunter College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.