I know I could lay down and roll over, but I can't
stop painting the walls of my room orange.
I wish you were here. All of the night breezes
that slip through the window keep me up
with their big scary names, like Us or Again or Over.
And even when I finally sleep at night, I reenter
the same dream world over and over again
in which I have many difficult tasks, like giving tours
of the whole ocean and replacing all of your teeth
every time they fall out, which is often.
I had tried to pour a cup of tea before bed
but your absence walked into the room
and knocked it out of my hands. Stupid void.
Lavender, let this stupid boy free.
Let him sleep unaware of his body
sleeping. Each mug down the drain stares at me
with the huge eyes of a first date. I climb onto
the kitchen counter to count the stars out the window,
to give you an estimate of how far the entropy
of the universe has flung us from the coffee shop
up near Science Park. Weak day, I’m getting so tired.
None of the orange paint will come off my skin.
I'm sleeping alone, like a boy.
I'm holding your absence like a boy.
Rob Colgate is a Filipino-American poet from Evanston, IL. He holds a degree in psychology from Yale University and is currently pursuing his MFA in poetry with the New Writers Project at UT Austin, where he is also working towards a certificate in critical disability studies. In Austin, he teaches workshops in both creative writing and emotional intelligence. His work is featured in Best New Poets 2020; his first chapbook, So Dark the Gap, was published by Tammy in March 2020 and won the ReadsRainbow Prize for poetry. You can find him at robcolgate.com.