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.