The ocean never breaks. It opens
like a fist, rolling us finger to finger,
taking the outstretched hand of the land
and pulling, gently, like a parent.
In September, nights are warmer than the days.
The moon burns like a second sun.
The fish, mistaking humidity for home,
swim up to the surface to breathe
where the three of us hold poles like
before we held sheets stitched together
where the three of us are never thirsty
anymore, but you’d never know it
by how we gaze into the ocean
the same ocean that tried to kill us
but instead buried us in this city
where we’re force-fed champagne
like a torture in which you die from being free.
Most cities are places you leave.
Miami leaves you. Looking back across the bay
the city is a campfire collapsing
into embers, the hook of a song
falling out of range, a crown of green
Presidentes showered into place
by ice cubes stacked like balloons.
Like our city, we have nowhere
to be, no schedule, no curfew.
If the earth misses us, it’s only because
the earth is always turning away.
Over and over we stab the hearts
of things just to drag them slowly below
the surface, through the dark of salt,
begging for them to be torn off and eaten.
We worship the moon, bending
our foreheads to the deck. We crush up
memories of home as offerings to the wind.
No one loves you as much as an island
but no one has ever loved us as much
as we love ourselves right now, at night,
surrounded by engine sounds and a trail
of rainbows that means we’re leaving
behind everything we brought with us
so when the channel tosses us
onto the rocks, the only thing we have left
to spill is the wine of our bodies.
None of it even makes it into the water.
We love the sea that much.
We could never blame her, not even a little,
and who is José if not the sea’s first-
born son? If not the moon but brighter?
Who else could hold the wheel in place?
Snap his fingers and lay our bodies
whole cloth on the other shore,
the shore that isn’t sinking, the one
that will never trade us, or ask us
to wear the flags of our enemies.
A pitcher is one who prophets.
Who digs the air into a cave.
A brother is the one who dies first.
A city is any place you love
that doesn’t remember your name.