I live in denial, and move from top
to bottom, left to right. Regardless
of what role I play with you, I’m happy
to let you lap me every time. It may be
true that we are nearing the end,
but we’ve still got some light left
and a place to go to, go around,
to harness. Think fainting goat, unshod.
Pronounce the word laurel. If you can
help it, Prettiest, join in. Shudder.
In order to feel powerful, I pretend
to choose over sleep, a change of clothes.
Itʼs happening to me.
Brightest eyes of all in the sheet-less
hours of early morning. Tongue
the most secretive, striking eel.
Breastbone most visible, most wanted
and so most likely to split open
onto white meat and, really,
the handsomest of purple hearts.
Iʼd salt it to keep it safe, I would.
Make believe I have the choice to fall
and so, fall.
If the Room Caught Fire
Heirloom garnet choker, wedding dress pillowed inside
a dry, paper cloak. Passport and birth certificate, provided
your mother hasn’t failed you and lost it.
The box that belonged to you at 13 reads You Probably
Shouldn’t Open This. Inside, love letters folded to be birds,
written on birch bark, sprayed with perfume.
I’m not even kidding. Your privacy, once endangered,
is given now to strangers on the train, the bus. Any queue
is now a chance to speak. You think the past a reason,
so you explain it, but you don’t understand:
it doesn’t say anything about you.
Dog-tongue boutonniere, seamed
stockings, black garter belt
or slow song. Hand on the gear shift,
soft-centered truffle, oyster splayed
like a crime scene. Always, the clanking
of teeth: a toast. Always, a woman’s spirited
breath the hot air of an oven,
yeast risen against me.