anais nin said we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. she was somebody great. i want to be somebody great. & there’s something in that, whispering into my phone about the woman i want you to want me to be. & each night stings with the possibility of it: us. the words thrumming, like meat still smoking from the cut. have you noticed how everyone’s always got a phone in their hand? always got their fingers on some keys to open themselves up? anais wrote letters to henry miller about using her intelligence to find new ways to love him. we all want to be seduced. only you & i are keyboard-crossed. we make do. we improvise, like our bodies have morphed into saxophones heated up. jazz. i whisper from the bottom of the continent, & you whisper from the top, & an hour’s difference is seamed into none. music, with two time signatures. & i think love is just innovation. innovation is just working with what you’ve got. undoing & then lacing it back up. is this what we long to do to ourselves, but cannot? instead i giggle, the sound lagging but soft, freed from the hemorrhage of performance. anais & henry wrote to each other, while a fire creased like a pillow in her home & rain fizzed like a snare drum outside his. & there was no way to find a land in between, where they shared the same weather. so the words grew legs. or wings, if we must. & really that land can never exist, can it? between anyone? maybe that’s why we think of our lands as our gods, with a peculiar devotion. you have your borders, & i will always have mine. & yet we still try to turn each other into mirrors. then hug them close. like the edges won’t hurt. (even then, i hoped somehow you wouldn’t hurt me.) i lift my phone screen & send you what i see. you reply the same way. seduction is only searching for one’s own reflection, & learning where, where to put your hands. later i will learn that love is utopia & dystopia at the same time. & in the midst of the apocalypse, we still won’t tire of trying.