Between arriving and departing, the night is in its middle when he calls.
The men you almost marry sound like ash on the phone, so much fire gone.
I can only answer. There are no more questions between us, we speak
in declarations now: “That place on 4th was infested. You remember.”
I should say, we speak also in commands. You, remember.
(He struggles with my name, the use of it a violation, a memory.
I use his, though. The long and fragile form of it: “Francisco, we need our rest.”)
“I do remember.” I say. Though, I had forgotten. Wispy apartment spiders breeding
in the space of mislaid tiles beside the bathroom sink’s plumbing. Termites
gnawing at support beams. Generations of ants thriving in the walls.
“One night,” he recalls, “we came home and they were two inches thick, wrapped around
the living room wall, marching towards the kitchen, for the smallest bit of honey.
I wanted to spray them all and leave the dead as a warning to the rest, but you would never let me.”
I tell that story,” he says, “when I think of you.”