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.


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