Photo by Gaelle Marcel via Unsplash




We’re alone on the brink
of this tabletop.
.           We rub air
between our palms, sweat
.           between our bellies.
.                      Our voices

drop like ripe fruit.

In the span of an evening, we lose
two former ideas and a half-

You dine on fragments of scrolls
clinging to my skin.
.                                   A second
coming of sorts. A baptism
.           by flaying.


This is the history of grief.
I took it from the mouths
.           of children, stripped
its carcass of words,
.           swallowed it
.                      whole.

Perhaps the light could tell you.
It split at the seam, ripe
.           with exhaustion.

There’s so much you don’t
know yet.       How the blade
.           was a mere
.                      extension of my wrist.
How not even a hand,
.           had there been one,
could have staunched all that
.                      brackish fear.


There’s a credible patch
of sun on the floor.
.           Its name is one
.           So much depends on whose
.                      spring

we forget to administer
.           to the sick.

Another word for this
.           is fall. The ground
is uneven; our footprints
.           crumble
.                      between the cracks.

Fear particles waiting for meaning.

And now, we’ve forgotten
.           how to swim. Last night
the panic button glowed
.                      with the face
of a cherubic Lenin.

Today, it’s illegible,
.           like a pulse.


First published in The American Journal of Poetry, Volume Six, January 1, 2019

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