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the softless slip of your
fingernail across the
bloodside of my wrist
sends shivers up my
arm straight to the
shoulder and neck
          I imagine

there is so little reward
in being sad at our
distance I'd rather
kiss the gates that keep
us apart and wish softly
sweetly that they open
          I wish
This poem was written while listening to "Jaipur" by the Mountain Goats.
Imagine the world
as your palm north-
south'ing your face

from fleeing fore-
head to flicking
brow-ridge to

and all of it you're
stuck with and with
everything it hides

you're stuck with

stick it to your chest
and let it pump
rage in your veins

see it die in whatever
vein tracks from clavicle
to un-sunned wrist
it's wind; it's fire

singing your hairline—
your eyebrows though
thin as they are

they're still strong, love
Why do we care
so fully

to an acute point
of exhaustion

to the
we suffocate

in the
we're told to

sorry I said
sorry—you were almost there
that night
and sorry—for the mess
my skin is woven
from straw
     & therefore
prone to
slow splitting
     & knives
in general

same you said
same that crowds
make you jumpy
     & disappointment
wraps you often
like an afghan
of fresh pelts
home to flies
     & putrid
     & ******
     & that
forebears a
partnership in

sure we said
sure we can try
     & see
if tandem is best
or single is for the
better because
happy alone
     & happy
together are
     & equivalent

     & sorry
I am so slow to
peer out a new
window at newly
spring'd trees
under a new blaze
of hot yellow light
     & not
feel like a slug
in a salt bath
It took until now
thin and mid 20s
to comprehend
that as a child I was
and as an adult
still very much am

little childhood
traumas to mine
               no festering drama
               no shrouded mess

calm can bury like a
gravity blanket
               too hot or too cold
               I complain

I have never clawed
at my belly in hunger
felt my body
fall off in jeweled
pieces but I have
at times been

adulthood is a lake
blue black and endless
               rife with mudtraps
                    brimming with viperheads
                         scraping at the surface water

I am spoiled
I have not known pain
but I knew a person
whose eyes prodded
               like nails through jello
my insides and cut
tendrils of muscle
and delighted in the
stitching back
               the pushing of
                    needle through
                         meaty bits

some time after
I was grown
but flailing madly
as a comet poised
for landfall

a beetle in
a dust storm
a child with its
first scraped knee

my flesh yearns
for the needle
and for skin all
smooth and
scarred and
like the color of night
like the color of night
like sky like light
a rapturous blue
You're blocked;
you're bugged;
your eyes stay screaming
but I can't hear a thing.

Wash through me like knees through mud
not yet caked over by the heat of the
sun; like you're looking for something
you dropped and it may soon be entombed.

Look at me as you would a tree
caked in mud.
          Name me by my leaves, or
                    my sinewy limbs.

You're soft;
you're coarse;
the lines that puzzle your face
make frowning silly, and small.

          Name me Steinway like the
               piano. Or Pecan, like the

Find me forward, trudging through mud.

I can see solid ground but my branches
can't reach to touch the grass or its flowers
or to smell the rotten-ripe crushed leaves of
the pecan trees.

Stick me where I'm stuck,
save the mud. Give my leaves
some snow, some lightness,
cold. Give me color. Paint me
in storm clouds.
Written while listening to Deafheaven's Sunbather.
First we watched the fires dance
lapping at the old wood like
a parched dog's tongue to water

Second we bought vegetables from
a man and ate them without washing
or burning with fire

Next I can't remember but it was
so very long and sad and the things
that make people cry
made us cry

Without a compass I can't move
a new direction even if the wind
rips at my back and thrusts me

I am the shadow of tree limbs
on bright mornings

Dark and soft and untouchable
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