First it’s an

empty park, because the sun

has been eaten by too many ticks of

the clock. Then it’s you, and then it’s me, and then it’s the

three-leaf clover we find because we are all out of luck. Next it’s your hand in mine, dragging me to meet your shy twin brothers,

who stroke my hair more softly than you ever did. I shuddered—such compassion was not to be trusted. You took me home and planted eight roses on my neck while I searched the elevator panel for your 

floor number. They say it is unlucky, you said. We take the stairs, exactly twenty-five steps of quill-textured brick. I take your freckle-painted hand, and try to count all the gems before you say goodnight. All too woefully, I seal your lips and count, mesmerized by you and the arithmetic, and oh, how I hate arithmetic, but the word, it tickles my tongue.