Scene in a Museum From Which I Never Leave
New York, NY
The months slope down like a stucco roof.
I have started to think of you less.
Today at the MoMA I came across
a film projector installation by Nam June Paik,
like the one we saw in San Francisco
last June. How many times, lying in bed alone,
have I rewatched my video of the shadow puppets
you made with your hands in that light,
held my breath until the laugh from my younger self
cut off at the end, after your final flourish.
For a while I have believed I’m finished healing.
Today the projector beamed, silhouette-less,
onto the wall. I stayed too long, looking.
Because I miss you again tonight
and have been trying to fall asleep
for hours, I resort to watching fish
at the Monetery Bay Aquarium
glide through old footage online.
A hammerhead shark slips in and out
a beam of artificial light.
Stingrays hover over the seabed.
Columns of bubbles float up
from the bottom of the frame,
and no one eats or asks for anything.
It’s late so I can’t watch the moon jellies
swim in real-time, but their bell-like bodies
push against my screen’s blueness
in the recordings all the same,
opening and closing like chests.
I know I am overdue for letting go.
And yet, months later, here I still am:
reading and re-reading the caption
about the changing colors of the jellyfish,
praying for the water’s quiet
to thicken around me; for the sweet,
languid strokes of the fish; for my insides
to bloom pink and then lavender
and then orange like the jellies, shifting
shades with each breath I take in, each
soundless breath I push out until none
of you is left, only air, air.