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Bouquet


We see our ending as bonfire-light:

wind-tossed, sputtering, smoky.


She moves away, an angst

trailing behind: a wake of breadcrumbs,

a train of ripped-apart roses,

plucked like poultry

of each perfect petal

to prepare to make love or make up —

or either, scattered over a bed, left


with frantic fingers digging frenetic and still

glued to underground desires; high or wired,

I am trying to make low slopes of flowers

to bridge the dark corners of my sleep.


I argue my admiration and repeat

the exhausted answers you seek

in the omens of the morning.


You will know me then, when

each of your senses will flicker,

placed under gray cotton,

beneath pieces of the eternal,

below the heat of hunted bearskin

and the heavy humor of this world.


-


We vote with disengaged

incentives, travelers already

and living as movements

of water across the sides

of fluted glasses, living

without anyone, without

the thought of withstanding

the artificial /

this immortality of bones

/ the last sip of whisky.


-


We kiss. Or else

he waves

as mandolins murmur

what he saw

on that September afternoon

beside the library’s ivory door,

behind the veil of the unforgiven,

inside the large park

where our talking

led my friend to think

suddenly

that a substance would fall into us,

right there,

sky-birthed and screaming.


He said it would

crash through our bodies,

plunge into liquid composition

with sick splash — and it

would smash straight into our

ideas of things; into

our bad decisions; into how

far we bended, broke, or gave.


It will show us the shape

of our graves.


He said it would ignite

within our chest, doused

in a fuel no illusion can replace,

housed in bone, clay, and glass —

a fire to warm

a marrow deeper than marrow,

a light alive

with a dreaming

according to urging

and the intrusion of a torch

into inkblot evening.


-


I lie by the water. I hammock

my fingers to hold the stream;

I drink deep.


So here, you found me.


Tonight,

I hide neither from you

nor the anxious tics of clockhands.


-


I realized the other night

when you prayed

that this indescribable

glow moved into me:

it grew. It danced until

I knew I held a sun in my belly

hot as August rocks

in a snakeskin-littered riverbed,

a place too dry for tears,

too dry now to think of

the cool vanity of direction.


Each evening, I lay out plates.


I bake that space our hands

made between our palms

when we braided our fingers

together. I mine it from

memory like soggy

clay. I shape it into vases

to fill with flowers

your mother would have just

tossed away.


I set the table.

I wait.

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