coming and crosses the street, avoiding eye contact.
With my spine pulled hard to this cold and canted floor,
eyes shut against the turning, I should not feel your
anachronistic weight condensing falsely familiar,
solid upon ribs and pelvis, unlikeliest legs squeezing
these credulous hips tightly to force a recollection of
your scent, a chimerical reflex from a long time never.
exhibit b. They are quiet as an awkward pause, as the held breath
before the gunshot. False are Hamlet and Marley, false
the garrulous shades that authors invent, forcing sounds
up puppet throats to drown out the resounding silence
of those who truly haunt, lips rusted shut, with
the terror of white noise dialed to zero. But you
I hear: obliterating my secret face, drop by
acid drop, with words that burn from lack of malice.
exhibit c. They are made of midwinter, cohering but barely
by that same palsied hand that rattles careless mist
into ordered structures of spun sugar and bitter math,
rime on paralytic limbs like nimble moss on a corpse,
a bad practical joke caught in the slowest eye-blink.
You are bound instead by warmth, invisibly red,
your blistering absence peeling back layers with heat
times ten, needles buried, sand into rivers of glass.
exhibit d. Above all, they are echoes of the dead, silenced voices
pacing empty hallways. But here and now, I feel your
cadence flutter beneath my cheek, the rhythmic crush
of eager fluid down dark and mythic tributaries,
every thrust an unanswered riddle. This is proof
of life, removed but unended: proof that you haunt me
too soon. Though I am not the one who quickens it,
there is nothing so incontestable as a pulse.
(first appeared in issue 1 of Packingtown Review)