11

To my roomfriend love, on your 26th birthday

I dug through our safe today,
past our social security cards and birth certificates
past stacks of silver coins and
a plastic sleeve containing
currency from around the world

I was trying to find the cards I made you in high school

you know that one
where I tried to pass off giving you my sophomore photo
as totally normal friend behavior
because it was part of a joke gift where you could use magnets to decorate a photo
so of course you’d need a photo
of me

and your 18th birthday card
that I made you in calc class
with a collage of all my English vocab words
(because I used to email you my vocab words)
and cray pas art
which took me hours to make
because we were
friends

I didn’t find them,
but as an anthropologist I shifted through
4 years worth of letters
from our dating era
stacked in not quite chronological layers
those letters, yours and mine.
so intimate it felt like I was intruding
and covered in marker cartoons,
37-cent stamps
and the hopes and dreams
that only adult teens can express

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