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?”