leaving new york

There’s a spot on the bridge where the city looks
like it’s moving closer. But we don’t live here

anymore. If reckless had a smell, it would be the whiskey
on your breath, your hair damp with sweat and sex.

A taste: salt. A sight: you, naked and heavy with sleep,
amid crumpled sheets on the deflating aerobed

in your childhood bedroom. A sound: me sliding out
in the morning. We must have almost believed

the end was near, sixty degrees in December
and then, two days later, snow piled higher than cars.

You were never a stranger. In the dark, more like myself
than myself, except when you were the opposite.

You taught me once how to shuck an oyster,
how to wrench open its rigid shell.

About our bodies together: supple, soft, and slick,
no wrenching necessary. If love is a stream,

I might be a fish tossed onto a frozen bank
to lie heaving and gasping, but love is love,

and I’ll recall the heaving and gasping
before I fear drowning out of water. Our gills

are meant for use, our tongues for tasting,
our limbs to unfurl of their own accord.


Hannah Oberman-Breindel is an MFA candidate at UW-Madison. Her work has appeared in BOXCAR, Stirring, the Comstock Review and elsewhere.