They say it’s there so I keep it there in the cupboard above the sink. It beats and rattles the dishes. It bleeds down the wall and makes the fruit bowl smell rotten even when it’s not. You used to hold a mango to your nose and say, “it’s ready” or “not yet” but now they stink like death and they are never ready and you are always gone.
That’s why I keep my heart safe in my home in the mountains. Because you had it once, held it in the palm of your hand and listened. You said “shh I’m hearing who you are” and it gave a beat I worried was too brittle ever to be loved, but you smiled and hummed along like I was a song everyone should know. You crossed it with a kiss.
Back then our home was full of light and thick with heat, not in the mountains but a jungle. The outside walls were graffitied with vines of scribbled omens I wish I had memorized. We placed our hearts on pedestals at the foot of our bed, we bathed them in the wild garden, we spun our hearts on records of Patsy Cline and sang crazy for trying and crazy for crying as we danced in our living room, forehead to forehead, shifting our weight left to right, our hearts going round until the needle zipped off.
Now I don’t move it from the cupboard. I don’t leave the mountains. The light is just as bright but it doesn’t soak or drench, it’s direct and honest, it talks to the snow and the snow talks back, and in this light, my home is a shiny small safe, a metal box glistening making no false promises. A coffin in the woods. Because love, what could be safer, happier, crazier than keeping you here with me?
I keep them in the kitchen cupboard. They beat and rattle the dishes. I smell the flesh, the moth-ball, the mush-mango scent and I remember the times we shared, the lies you whispered. You are my only one, I recite for the porcelain, the china, the pots and pans. My Only.
Isabelle Correa is from Washington and lives in Vietnam. Her writing can be found in Trampset, Maudlin House, Pank, and others. She really loves her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @IsabelleJCorrea for more writing and the occasional picture of her dogs.