Captain

Don’t call me captain.

We are past the times of pretending the other is on every plane we see.

Hoped to see you at dance recitals or at the train station to meet me.

Call me impatient, call me jealous

but I am in the backseat

and you can see my gaze drift out the window

like a ship at sea.

Why is it any surprise that I am soaked salty in disappointment

as you remind me that there were other captains before me?

I’ve seen enough to know sometimes you miss them.

Your wheel turned by other hands, perhaps more soft,

perhaps more experienced,

and I am only good at working with mine.

My grandpa used to tell me I belonged in a garage-

my heart, a porsche convertible beating red with engine revs under a sawdust-covered hood,

hidden.

I found your initials keyed into my love handles,

unlocked every journey I might ever hope to have,

you told me my eyes were beautiful like mirrors and you could see sunlight in my teeth.

I told you that holding my hand doesn’t mean you’re forgiven.

Telling me to come back home doesn’t mean I want to be there.

Moving forward doesn’t mean you’re not leaving me behind.

You said you’d always wait.

Now you say I drive you crazy.

Well I want to drive you west to the beaches I grew up on and show you how fragile oyster shells are so you can see what happens to my chest every time I hear you say her name.

Wonder if you notice how her hair blows in the ocean wind.

Ex-lovers, just friends, but I know better.

And I have no one.

And I know it’s not fair that I’d feel less lonely if you had no one, too.

But if you stop letting your wheel be guided by memories and stare hard enough at the water maybe you can see I’ve fallen overboard for you.

My feet heavy like car tires, meant for solid ground.

And I am not sure your wordless apologies are still enough to keep me afloat.

So don’t call me captain.