I tell Chen the boundaries weren’t as crisp as I wanted them to be, crisp, like chicken, a charred asparagus lost in the lines of the grill I can’t stand intense heat but I’m in Florida with my parents, talking to my ex, though I said we shouldn’t talk while I’m gone, he keeps having emergencies, valid ones, and still, it’s taking my mind away from what I came here to do, relax, or so I had hoped, but my head is all I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I NEVER STOPPED LOVING YOU so I’m texting Chen who says ~boundaries are love~ which is from a piece of art I bought at Dyke March in Chicago, with a Californian flower, I can’t remember the name, pink and full of little heads, like any sort of wind would dismantle it, entirely, hundreds of pieces, each stuck around my ankles, at the beach, the seaweed pools around me and I’m standing, the whole ocean, wanting just to be free of him, the ex, free of Chen’s texts that are so concerned, because I was frantic last night and my late-night messages don’t glimmer as bright in the morning, no dehydrated, half-eyed forgiveness, what I’m trying to say is that I am in love with him, still, after not speaking for six weeks, and Chen knows, and I know, and the boy knows but doesn’t want to admit, doesn’t want to lose me, he, too, in love, but leaving, in a few months, for good and not looking back, as I’m here, pooled, layers of flowers I can’t name that fly behind my ears, it’s a yarrow flower, my roommate says, a week later, looking at me tape it up to my wall, it’s medicinal, good for your insides, just like boundaries, I think, protecting myself, from him, my love for him, those late night wantings where I paint us in Paris, like we always joked, skipping, a popsicle in my thumb, fingers, how we both take bites, back and forth, balancing
Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a Chicago-based poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. They work in queer healthcare. Their second chapbook, GESUNDHEIT!, a collaboration with Chen Chen, was part of the 2019-2020 Glass Poetry Press Series. He co-founded and edits Underblong. Website: samherschelwein.com.