I have now admitted to myself that I sleep with him only for the dreams, and the 2am rambles about skin and ghosts.

He said he was on his way to Vietnam and they sat him down, serious.

“The war won’t kill you, boy, but the forest will.”

And a dream, he said, where he found a path in me to a place where he could make everyone warm.
I am so quiet these days, and he wonders about my love.

I wonder too. I am always wondering.

He has a birthmark on his back in the shape of a whale. Says it’s a flower but I really don’t see how. Are they petals or flippers? We argue. He can’t see it too well back there so I would know better. Anyway flowers are lame; wouldn’t he much rather have a whale? They are one of the very oldest mammals and make sounds we cannot even hear.

One time we went to an aquarium; one of the big ones with glass walls you can see right through. The whales were rubbing up against each other and twisting, making noise, nuzzling.

why do they do that?

why not, and I took his hand.

let’s go home I’m tired.

no I want to listen.

they are just whales.

I know.


And we stood like that for half an hour even though I knew he wasn’t into it; likely he was thinking about building something, or how to bake bread that I will eat. Who knows what goes on in that funny mind, capped by hair even less predictable than my own. I do not know. But I am glad because he says the most beautiful things at night, unexpected, when I am almost asleep, like he is afraid I might really hear. It is these times I want to beg forgiveness for my indecision. My wandering mind.

There was a story once about his porch back in Montana, how he sat up on the hill with his brother watching it get dark, and they fight every day but there is this love underneath when they are still.

And the dreams, they are stunning and weird, like my own. We wake up and there is so much to tell.

That day with the whales, he held my hand the whole time. He’s always very polite about these things.

Sometimes I wish he would just tell me to fuck off. Maybe in his dreams he does, while his body tears at the sheets and I can't quite make out what he says. Maybe I need to listen harder, because his sounds go underneath like a whale, or an elephant; they do that too.

Maybe I don't need to do anything, except close my eyes. Maybe that's the point.