I don’t need things
sanitary, I just need them
I need them blank
and malleable and empty—
and impenetrable and deterring:
the cold walls of a cloroxed surface
the wide base of a lysoled space.
Spattered crumbs across a kitchen counter can be
brushed off. Calcified toothpaste around the bathroom sink can be
scrubbed away. Spilled decisions and the inability to make them—
a cocktail of Hennessy and incidental encounters— can be.
ignored, and covered up, and forgotten.
pushed aside and shoved away and misremembered.
obscured and omitted and lied about
—sanitary, but never clean.
I cannot wash my hands of his sweat.
I cannot gargle away his taste.
I cannot comb out his fingernails.
I may be sanitary, but I will never feel clean.
Today is tomorrow’s Tuesday
night and I’m drenched in what could have been
your breath or my carbon monoxide. A cocktail of the two,
of us- the gemini
we are. We were.
Your weight felt heavy and my body concave.
Rasping through the speakers of your state of the art
speaker system-my playlist. I made it
for moments like these. Named it blazing lips
and raptured fingers or maybe just:
I'll let you trace
my outline, if I can be
your vertex, pulling deeper and harder,
pushing pencil to paper—ink on velvet
and the emptiness of words.
I gave up to you. I give up
through you. What words could mean
more than you’re okay. We’re just
You could ignite me, or let me simmer
in the twisting of the sheets
or your dreadlocks. Built in
abandonment. The chronicles
of sobriety detailed in the hollow
of your tongue-- the stale space
between two thoughts--a presence
and my innocence: fruit
ripe for the tasting. You could sip
at my pretense and I’d swallow your malice
or we could delve into my irreplaceability. Wait
a week. We’re just fine.
I feel him hurting
With cinched waists and jarred backs--
a trickle down my eye, carving out
my lips. My tongue. My spine. Your hands--
the rough carpenter of longing.
I crave to find your center--
the point of equilibrium where
two words meet and
love, and writhe and conquer.
All of me is
vulnerable and molten
Yours is something different,
different from mine,
from his. His is more.
His is power. Is Glory.
Is light and strength
And what's more?
Is mine. Is our
breath. Our metronome
and the syncopated
rocking of your arms and the bed frame.
of center. Just right
Sometimes we peeled back the sky
and pretended that its whispers never caught us.
With wind whipped faces, and chalky cheeks you rested there,
on the side of the road.
Just moments after
daybreak. A face like molten plastic reflected
off the cadence of the skies.
I see you now, wrapped in metal sheaths
traversing the highways of your smile
to the soft whine of a saxophone.
I'll let you lay and wait
a while, in this circle of morning doves,
tuning in to your pressure points.
Switching radio stations.
And tomorrow, maybe,
we'll find where we are.
Her fingers were coated in rain
drops and candied whispers,
lacing the side
of her face, like a gas
mask or a prayer
Woven into her cheeks were the clasped hands
she knew all
but too well, dripping honey and sea
salt across her brow- swollen and
heavy. She felt
its pressure, always,
like a sieve or a boiling point. The cool
90 degrees of a summer smoke.
Orbiting her fingertips.
She flicked the ashes
into a puddle and spat. Her gum
had lost it's flavor.
It was always a bit too sweet.
There where times when we
laughed: your mouth parted
small oceans across its landscape,
etching caves into your molars,
if I'd seen them through that rocky grin.
I'd long to hear the crashing of your waves
again. Against a rocky bay.
To taste the dried-up seaweed of near morning
and low tide.
To be matted hair against
a rough wind, shallow
under fading storms.
I'll send smoke
signals and await contact-departing
lost words from frothy beaches
and still I'll cling to remember
the sinking tide,
the swelling dawn
and the indented shoreline,
like a scar across
charred lips or the smile
of a stranger.
Biting into the crust of an evening reminiscent of you.
Your crown was
immaculate, your kingdom over-
grown with red ferns and dandelions up
the side of the fence in the back
yard where I'll meet you behind
the shed, under
the shadow of daybreak
with red ferns and
dandelions. A cloak sewn
from innocence, pushing against the weeds
the side of the fence in the back yard
Where I meet you.
Your voice slurred in deep tongues,
licking up the side of the fence in the back yard.
Where I met you.
Smothered in red ferns
We watched them grow
up and over the side of the fence in the back yard
Where I'd met you.
as the sunset colored you red,
painted me yellow
until we both
blurred into the night.
Before we even had a chance to crumble into
the crisp embrace of an evening.