When a girl asks you to bring her flowers,
don’t. Instead, rove through the old city,
into gullies and crooks that wind like leaf
veins to find her a postcard, a bouquet
of stamps pressed upon the sheet
with indigenous flower nectar that will give her
a glimpse of somewhere she may have never been
with you. If she asks for chocolate, don’t bring her any.
Send back pebbles in a ziplock, a broken twig, a lost and found
button that’s an enigma she can stow under her pillow.
A traveler once told me he wished to be
in two places at once. He left a shoe (with his soul
in its sleeve) on a mountain top overlooking a grassland,
and trekked back with only the other. His feet
blistered on the way back, bleeding into the earth for hours.
The following day, he saw a sheepdog make the shoe its plaything.
For all the wonders that only you may see
and the feelings that another may never feel,
name a star. The world has millions of them:
longing for fleeting validation.
Send her the names on tiny restaurant bills
or throwaway napkins with no explanation:
one at a time, far apart, accosting her
when she least expects it.
Soon enough, she will be accustomed
to your ways, of receiving memories
she never hoped for.
Flowers wilt and chocolates are digested.
So, when you leave for good,
(no maps or an address to trace back to you),
every postage stamp, greeting card,
button-down shirt, the tree in her backyard
and every starry night will have your essence
weaved in. She will forever be haunted
by your palimpsest in the universe.