i am your dismantled nothing
the dedication page torn
and stained under the heel of your
shoe i am the little
girl staying up too
late for the sake of a
bedtime story tugging at your
heels and asking now? pulling
the covers over one eye
so i can watch everything i love
about you from across the
room, so i can read the books
on your shelf (take any
one you like) so i can kiss
you goodnight and go to sleep
with the curtainfall of your
fingers on my cheek,
unprecedented intimacy closer
than sex closer than kissing
closer than the grip of tendons
locking my bones into
place. i think i love
you more than i
said, which was
which is what i’ve become,
ghost of an
once in a while
a 1 a.m. text
that’s not funny
she says, my ugly
words twisting her face
into a sagging parabola,
a hell-bent slope for
her tears to drain off, but
it’s true i tell her i’m not
kidding honest-to-god or
whoever calls the shots i’m
going, repeat earnestly
repeating myself like i can’t
quite believe, the royal
city’s shut its chryselephantine
gates, harbinger of absconded
souls gone to sleep, mass trenches
or earth-hewn cradles rocking us
in sentient-void orbit till
to dust we return, and it’s
funny because when i was
little i wrote fifty-four
pages of a story called
‘meet me in heaven’
and i want to promise her
i will i’ll be good and fold
my hands like holy origami
and never ever say goddammit or
anything that could lock
me out forever, always say
grace and godblessyou and pray before
the sun goes down but mama i’m
sorry, if i’m going anywhere
it’s a very cold place and if
i pray for anything it’s
that you will sleep somewhere warm.
“zoning out?” he asks, but no, I’m staring
at those anonymous earrings,
this tarnished night adorned
with a forgotten souvenir of an adjunct lover.
posts pointed toward the window, deep blue
like the stones inlaid in that famous coffin. I
imagine his slender fingers placing them there
so he can whisper unobscured
something about her eyes or her body,
or drop “I love you”s
like uncertain girls pulling colors off a flower.
I want to slip them into my braid,
blue winks in the brown plait,
the way I slid that odd black hairpin
into the matted weave, claiming these
faceless women and wearing
their lust like babylonian finery.
I never liked going to church alone.
Something about the crucifix, its wooden agony
and sophic stare
right into my vacuity of virtue, the numinous crescendo
of the fervent choir, made me reach for my mother’s hand
childlike faith in her sturdy side. Broken inclinations
and fragmented rectitude,
I’m not suited to the white gowns and silver circlets.
I’m a scarlet stain, like a drop of wine
on the divine imbrication of angels and immolation.
So lately I’ve made altars of bookshelves,
pews of the equidistant aisles lain like slants
of sunlight on the ground. Disciples of transliteration,
harrowed breath of fallen prophets, on my knees
to the lowest shelf. I have found saviors here.
Walk through and my toes curl under, so
shy in the lush wandering of words and promises
intimated between the lines.
I could kiss their trillion pages like a lover’s eyelashes
embrace forever their bloodless
offerings that stir my thrumming heart
and assure me that in this wild tangle of
mainline veins and interstate road signs,
skittish eyes and unfathomed dreams,
they have walked before me.
I am not alone.
seeping through your fishing net,
silvered leaves, your portrait;
like blood-won gold and harvests.
oozing over my hurt,
this honey, drawn by your hands
from the great thrum of wings and poison,
kind to our
in a way no other spread
can sweeten our downfall.
around our wilting necks, Pablo,
you never filtered this yellow effluence
of your secret ocean.
I can taste Chilé
rivers and men
in its lush heaves.
I can touch
the provenant lilies,
over the black spindles,
the footsteps of bees
come to take
their wisp of embaument
Inspired by the works of Pablo Neruda, particularly his use of honey as a motif.
I’m not your home.
Do not ask for a drawer,
housekey, a place
for your shoes in the closet.
Floorplan of ephemerality
shifting walls with strangers in frames.
Didn’t you hear me?
Tucking into my shoulder
like I’m something
substantial, more to offer
than sheets and fleeting warmth,
a profane whisper of someday.
Try not to think about it too much.
Roll on and wish
for a final address
sturdy faces stepping into the hall.
“So,” she asks finally.
“Did you die?”
Back to sleep, my love.
“But where did you go?”
Agoraphobic to boot-my boxed up
room is kingdom now.
“Is it warm where you are?”
Maybe if you slide another
blanket under the door.