i.
i always thought the apartment
had been shoved haphazardly between the others—the bricks
a different color & the windows
narrow, like they had been smashed in

 
which was why
my bedroom was taller than it was wide,
why i had to have a special bed made for small children,
why my feet hung off the end—a fishing line for monsters.

 
my best friend lenore
had to hold me close to her during sleepovers
due to the risk of falling out of bed & cracking
like egg shells on the old, linoleum floor—the one always dreaded on cold mornings

 

ii.
we were much more than a memory,
sharing locks of flesh & can-can telephone cords

 
on her refrigerator was a magnet which read lincoln, nebraska
but she told me she had never traveled outside nyc

 
at late nights & eyes closed
it became impossible to understand the discrepancies

 
but i remember her bedroom clearly:
paper dolls,
extraneous light bulbs,
plastic horses,

 
books with no titles,
socks with no holes,
bubblegum wrappers,
a plant,
another plant,
& a cracked picture frame (which held a photograph of us
clutching one another as if it would save our lives)

 

iii.
i relentlessly remember how she
shared fingernails & riddles like
remembrance, traces of truth outlined in shouts
& confusing hands

 
i understand little of what it meant to be her
& by now,
forget everything about what she looked like

 
i restlessly watch the videotapes, through
when i was baby & only slept & slept

 
through birthday parties—wondering where
is she & who is that—spotty backs of heads,
shaking pavement, & finally—
the fading speckle-eyed girl, her face
unfamiliar, like a dream

 

iv.
when lenore came over to say good-bye to me, i couldn’t
look at her, couldn’t give her the hug
i knew she wanted.

 
my mother shouted to me: it’s time to go;
say good-bye to your friend

 
but i didn’t know how
to tell her what she meant to me
& instead packed myself up
in the passenger seat like
a box for dust & storage

 
as we drove away, i watched lenore through the side mirror, closer
than she appeared & crying
beside her purple bicycle

 
& i already knew
that i was doing everything wrong