San Francisco

Inside the Columbarium I climb slowly up,
circle the dome and peer into the vaults:
glassed off dioramas of loss and left behind:
eyeglasses folded up,
cigarette tucked into the brass handle,
photos of young men
beautiful in each other’s arms,
now decades dead. LEDs flash Terry Terry
Terry forever. I lean close to read Gavin’s
letter to Hugh about the space between
one’s belly and the other’s back and what
was held there once. This morning I’ve come
from an unfamiliar bed, sunburnt,
hungover, lip split from their teeth
so that every further kiss hurt sweetly.

José Muñoz explains: we disidentify
with what won’t hold us, but which
we cannot leave behind. Standing here
it’s like I’ve felt my affinity with them
would somehow ungirl me.
Then I consider men at the age they’d be
if they had lived and I think it’s easier
to love the dead, who haven’t had the chance
to abandon us. What do I know.
If I’m honest I haven’t tried to love
anyone, alive or dead, or at least I’m sure
I didn’t start last night.