In a world this red & watery, I have no choice but to be a wild animal waiting to be killed. These laddered roses stacked atop my chest, all these decisions filled with blood. My fruit has browned in love’s crosswind, knocked me from tree after tree, but this is the game: you send your heart still soft on the fingers, send a reed shaken with wind. (There is another not mentioned here, & in this, you know something she doesn’t.) We always think to rest in the waves, to let them restore us, but there is nothing the clouds can’t hold in anger, no musical vapors lifting from their mouths. Instead, only one sound: teeth, quiet as they enter the skin of each sunsoft apple.
I can think of thousands of things too important
to do in this dirty hotel. One of them is watching
space debris hurtle toward our balcony. Enough
people have likened loss to a comet, but I prefer to
address it by name: broken buildings, broken bicycles,
general trash. Two doors down, someone droops
wet linens over the railing. Tens of billions of atoms
are burning, & all we can do is dry our laundry.
The song changes to something more obscure,
sounds of boys falling into the lake & meeting
the surprised mouths of fish. The singer quiets.
Police nest along the curb, faces swirling upward
in small motions. You wonder if somewhere
there’s a baby hanging over the iron bars, unkempt
& wriggling. If he slips, he’ll drop to the cement
like a rock, break his neck, maybe. Out of the dark
we go, pouring these things into the mouth of
something soaring from space. The night only has
the appearance of goodness—remember this
in your backup plan for sunrise.
There’s safety in everything
at war, & I can’t speak for you
or your friends, but all this talk
about weights & measures—
it’s like time’s hanging its head out
the window, hollow & thin-wristed
as it picks me up, saying how according
to the police, the moon’s been eclipsed.
The color of pulled hair & a marathon
of vein, I am my own program, am a
mountain in stasis. Maybe you should
be a little worried about me after all.
I no longer have a quiet room. It’s filled
with crates of pears & applause.