You smell like you’ve been shot
down the barrel of a gun
an outlaw slipping off your horse
hauling a mix of rain and sunset
in time to answer prayers
and save me—
the little lady, from myself
or what the law allows.
No life or godless cells cluster
in your wake
as you set fire to my velvet curtains
and cut out with a cache of rubies
like plucked hearts
so I never suspect
in a killer disguise
who cleans and warms the place.
My Half of Night
I listen to crickets saw night
like a lock on a box of secrets
on my right, books spread out in bed
their corners curling
I want to call you
discover where your toes point now
a blue notebook touts five subjects
in place of your head tossing on the pillow
I asked what you were thinking once
feeling your heart slow to a circling hawk
you’ll never get inside my head you said
there’s some poetry, self-help
feathered light and solid colors
a dictionary from 1971
reminds me of pedantic
the meaning I learned
back at your bedsit a few hours after we met
a squiggle of tobacco on your bottom lip
hard cider on my breath
Old Friend from Far Away is open
prompting me to write about nuts
oil from my hands leaves permanent shadows on pages
not like your body with my cuts on bone
wherever you are
your half of night is sawn by jagged breathing
if you sleep on your good ear we’ll hear
nothing when the lock breaks.
Sewn in Need
The lingerie sale is a karmic wink.
What goes around comes around
the rack of sheer, bright skins
with ribbons and bows like atrophied limbs
catching my fingers in its web of
He wants a surprise—
one size fits all
dyed the color of cartoon cherry blood
slit up the belly
and sewn by
a woman with needs.
I toss her on my bed
her long black braid licks
her curved back
her skin shines with sweat.
I whisper in the hollow of her ear
“My body used to be enough.
Once we made love three times on the way to the toilet.”
“Ahhh,” she says, splitting the symmetry of her mouth.
“Four if you count on the toilet,” I add.
Then the clicking starts
from her dislocated thumb shifting
in out in out in out in out in
as she strips me
scratches and bites my breasts
to make them ache and swell
spits on my chest
to glisten depth
picks blood and rust from under her nails
rubs them into my cheeks and belly
to look flushed
wipes her oily brow inside my thighs
for a sticky glow
snaps her thick braid with teeth like lightning
wraps it high round my hips.
The remaining inches hang like a tail
she packs in the crack of my ass
and up between my legs
covering my pubic hairs
with a fan of split ends.
The clicking stops
I pull the blanket up to my chin
pretend to sleep.
Both of us worn out from his surprise.
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