I wouldn’t tell you it’s copper. I’d send you back up to the jukebox in our mojito summer, sucking spearmint and lime. The chromium lemon of streetlights expanding, trailing the car window past my bare toes like a meteor shower that isn’t fast enough to catch us, their last ember a porch light outside my front door. We’d be immune to the cold, I’d hold your rose hands, kiss the flush of your cheeks, lie down on Mount Morgan in any wet grass, feel the blue of you in my veins. I know it isn’t right—
I tell them it was copper, your hair, but it wasn’t at all. Shorn too short, there’s no point trying to explain, not when no one’s seen it since, not the way I did. Laced between my foolish fingers. I could go to Kentucky, to the mountain, find your name, leave you flowers, wild chicory and violet, if I could whisper the hue of what I left by the falls, but if I call it by name it might swallow me whole. So it must have been nothing. Nothing more than orange, or red. I tell myself it was copper.
Renée Agatep is from the American Midwest but now lives with her family on the Portuguese island of Madeira. She attended the Syracuse University MFA and is the winner of the 2022 Wolfson Poetry Prize. Her debut poetry chapbook, OHIO RADIO, is forthcoming from Wolfson Press in 2023. Her latest work can be found in Poetry Ireland Review, CAROUSEL, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @GoingbyRenee.