or a comet,
shining in the sheets
like a shark’s fin
of metal and blood.
Red, so red
clots of flesh
dripping on the floor.
Were you scared
did it feel like skin,
the warm and living
improbable mass of carbon
inward and weep.
Their daughter shirks them
her face in the crimson water.
with potent somnolence,
you said you just wanted
some goddamn sleep,
but what you got instead
was a psych ward.
It wasn’t a want to die,
just a desire to drink down repose
and toss the bottle of empty pills
into last week-
that’s what you swore,
but level with me honey.
We both know
that no one swallows
melatonin and opiates
with such abandon
that angels will lead you in.
i think at night something like my heart drips from my mouth and stains
the covers, and here is where i lost you and traced the question marks
with a cold index finger, told myself the answers
are in your gospel (i’m with you no matter what)
and still i believe in your aureate heart, somewhere still at odds
like clovers growing up in concrete. i see your little knees,
purple braille from kneeling too long in gravel and grits poured out
by your stepmother who took her cues from storybooks.
i see you the way you said and more,
patchwork man of stars and beasts.
if i let the steady rain in my periphery flood my sight and hold
very still, i think your words are heard, and your chestbeat
bruises what’s left of me and i think at night i see you in everything.
at night is when i sang you to sleep in foreign tongues with a
fingertip trace on your back and at night is when i made my home
nestled between your ribs, my provenance and best hope
and at first this was enough, to fall into tomorrow with one dazed
blink of lambent eyes and murmured hallelujahs,
thank the faceless sky for its providence, at first it was
enough, and at second thought you want more than what I was
allowed to ever give except you already took it, i’m in your pocket
small and warm on your skin on my shaking body on me
again but love, i said ;
did i whisper? extinguished voicebox and white flag eyes,
i did not even put up a fight at the end I am still in your pocket,
my tongue and my memory for careless keeping,
and to this day (368 later) i am nothing but your tattered mattress
and when you take a second, third, tenth lover i sag under
the weight because this bed was not made for three.
My mother’s grief is an acre wide,
and hard as the concrete with our hands
pressed in like hollow stars.
Glass-eyed, tremulous veins spidered
across her windows,
two stories strong
four years empty.
Brass knobs that don’t turn and doors
boarded up, her mouth nailed shut
my mother’s grief is
(s i l e n t)
but you can see it from the street.
Burgundy and grand,
queen of the town.
Wide driveway river winding down
an overgrown husk
and children sitting on her staircase.
Promise me these things, because I can never see it in myself,
the girl I weave through the lines you love so well.
Tell me again so I can sleep tonight,
in the attic where they put my cradle when my toes touched the end
and my dollhouse when I could buckle my Sunday shoes.
Sing to me through the floorboards, because though I can only sleep alone
your voice makes it not quite so. A numinous hum woven
through the sway and glow of this weathered demesne.
Promise me these things, because I need to hear it again;
that my chapters are innumerable pearls rolling through your fingers
that my thoughts are silken strings woven into Arachne’s holy imbrication
that my words hold galaxies, prayerful stars, and planets with iridescent moons.
It may take another year,
another life lived in storybook pages
oceans hissing in the hourglass
windswept, wildflower places
with no roadmap to our provenance-
but love, I swear someday
I will come home
and we’ll dig up the briar rose
weeds from our laughing garden
and fill up the cornucopia
with quivering snow
and old shoelaces tied into forget-me-nots.