|Jan/Feb 2004 • Poetry|
Unboiling an egg, reinserting a fetus,
softening dead muscles that have gone erect:
there are certain impossibilities,
things that won't reverse or quicken
despite our pushing, waiting, wanting.
This house can't shake its skin
of flame, dress itself
with insulation, drywall, paint, pictures.
It can't protect us from snow
as we grope through delirium
for the pleasures of our bodies.
Only the ground floor smolders.
There is no evidence
of the staircase where you brought me
from your bed, held me in the darkness
& showed me the window-framed moon
as if you were giving it to me.
You said I'm a wet dream
& a nightmare, that I make you float.
But now your bedroom
& its conversations have been consumed;
the pillows & sheets that smelled like you
are dust in this constellation - rising & falling
like moths over the fire, doomed.
I scribble on the sidewalk with charcoaled timber —
towering pencils that once held a roof over illusion —
explaining to passersby why I live alone in a house
that has burned to the ground.
I roll the walls into a ball of warm splinters
as the wood is taken by ash, the heat taken by days
and days of waiting for the sphere to uncurl,
straighten, turn black to white then stand erect
behind me so you can kiss me against it.
I'll swallow this ball -
a pill, a nucleus that will sear you
from memory as it descends from my lips
to my heart, from the bowed crown
of my spine to the drunken pelvis
it grows from.
It is here, where you have entered me
so slowly and decadently —
where we cleaved
from one person into two,
migrating to our separate poles
like magnetic shavings hungry for order —
it is here I will have the most to forget
& that is why it must burn the longest.