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Polka dots of tissue, starburst red

These have to be

the cleanest holes you ever made

Leaking like balloons on hot pavement

scraped and cleansed and scraped open again,

Spilling all my secrets

on the new off-white linoleum.

We take our little tolls of one another

day after day after day.


Standing now, we recite the hymn together.

Gunshot voices boom. Echo. Boom.

Echo, then still as funeral ghosts

Copper charms twisting down the arm

of ancestral fixtures; borrowed china,

hand-me-downs passed up and up through the ages.

We tell lies to keep the time from passing.

we go from room to room, shouting

until morning, at least, the armistice hours—

drawn curtains and queer light—

but our words are wind chimes

whining between the walls


Some ligatures can never be untethered

and neither shall we, so we vowed.

Yet here we are, unraveling.

What little thread remains

bends like switch grass in the wind,

and we resolve, the both of us,

to lay down our ends respectively.

Nothing left but to forgive, and repent

to the clock we both regrettably worship.


Surrender. Night passes with rural compose.

Invisible as chirping cicadas, the both of us.

Arrested. Arrest us now with tortured verse

O choir of begotten spirits.

Leave us bloodless and spent

Swaying in this dark field of retreat

With mouthfuls of moth-teeth, snakebelly white

Like the paparazzi flash and dim of angry filaments

Sing us to sleep. Slow the disrepair of our bond,

Delay it with months of silence, please and thanks.

“That’s life,” we hear from a distance.

And we reply in unison: “Is it over?”

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