We ceased naming days
when each one was copy-pasted from the last.
We keep time now by the bubbles in the sourdough starter,
by the fattening of the moon. Friday
is the day the horse-chestnut bloomed.
Monday is the day we ran without stopping.
Sunday is coffee and oranges, too-sunny morning,
aching for Wallace Stevens, but I
left that book in Tucson, back when we were naming days,
and I don’t like reading poems on a computer.
Would rather be lonely than talk
to the glowing facsimile of a friend.
You know, they say
the universe will be timeless one day,
each cold particle spaced evenly from the next.
And yet: I want to hold my time, feel
its weight in my hands. Stroke its hair.
I want to taste its juice. The mango fruit has a pitted scar
like the one on my lover’s arm. They both
hold the past in their flesh, so close
I can smell it. But English speakers are bad at naming scents,
and I don’t know, maybe I couldn’t name mango
without holding its firmness. Maybe
coffee doesn’t mean the same thing if it’s not morning,
stretched out on the blue couch, mug balanced on a book of poems,
feet warm in a puddle of sun.
Could I name the smell of coffee
if it was handed to me on a square of white paper?
Let me taste the smell of springtime
like you placed it on my tongue.
I dreamed I picked two oranges from the tree behind the neighbors’
so this morning I put on my shoes and took my coffee and walked out into the chill
and picked two oranges.
In my dream, the oranges were heavy and wrinkled. One had a dark soft bruise
like an apple, a mark that only made it more alluring.
This morning’s orange was less sweet that I wished —
less sweet than the oranges of my dream
which I never tasted
but knew to be sweet from their heaviness —
but it was thrilling to peel. With each dig of my nails,
a spray of oils: sharp-scented, bright yellow, dousing my hands, my clothes…
And all day I smelled like a dream.
Hannah Joyce (she/her) is a software developer with a background in religious studies. She finds inspiration in queerness, strange plants, and artificial intelligence, and she divides her time between the Sonoran Desert and the coast of Maine.