day 15

i close my arm in the oven door and leave it
a second past knowing. the extra moment
rises in blisters, a sticky wetness on the inside
of my shirt. maybe i thought it would be a good
reminder, a good way to remember this meatloaf
and brussels sprouts. we eat too much. my forearm
splits beneath my clothes, hot and oozy and later
crusted and still so much burning. surely soon
the heat will reach the bone.


day 13

i drink caffeine too late
in the day and spend
the night drawing pictures
on your back. first it’s as easy
as trees, houses with triangle
roofs. things you might be able
to guess. i am hoping the familiarity
will wake you. i press myself
into you for the same reason. you
sleep hard and i am jealous. i know
i did this to myself but that makes
it worse not better. i’m annoyed
with your steady breath and heavy
eyes. your arms are all over me.
the 6 pm coffee stretches in my chest
and i worry it might crawl out.
each hole in the body a vulnerability.
it’s hard to stay careful. it’s impossible
to sleep.

day 8

on the way home from work i clean
beneath my fingernails with my teeth.
i swallow whatever i find but don’t count
the calories. my left thumb yields something
salty. the right index is a bit of pastry
dough grown crunchy. someday i’ll unearth
a raw bit of sausage or egg and maybe it’ll
teach me. there are so many bad habits. mostly
i go easy on myself because it’s what i can do.
you have to start somewhere. you just have
to start.

day 7

friends sit around after dinner and bash suburbia — who could ever
want that life? what a useless end because that’s it: an end. a place
to fill until. a way to keep you grounded another way to say rooted all
words for stillness. there is a reason we don’t grow into the dirt. we are
born into movement. i am quiet. what i want to say is yes, cheap plastic
paneling and too short grass may not be the pinnacle of human existence
but have you ever been in love like this? the friends talk about how
they will change something, how waving your arms and making noise
are the ways to leave a mark. change or build or take down institutions.
what i want to say is the place i can make a difference has its head
on my chest. i am building this love every day and it’s the most beautiful
architecture. the windows are always full of sun. there are peaches
in the sink. this is juice on your cheeks. all i want is to have enough
to buy our kids raspberries. and to save a couple for you.

day 4

unwrap the fabric that keeps your bones
together. you never thought you’d be carried
like this: bound by four corners of knotted
cloth. look at what is left: a sternum in three
pieces, wrist bones worn river rock smooth,
a couple of teeth. the sharp ones: tearing instead
of grinding. how does nature pick what survives.
this is your sack of treasures: what a child keeps
beneath their mattress. a bed full of teeth.
the molars are a blessing, then. there is nothing
worth anything here. who would want a bit
of femur. a nervous boy uses a bit of your skull
as a worry stone.

day 3

this body is in pieces at the bottom
of the stairs. what a hassle to collect
yourself when you hands are their own.
what part of myself am i in? i can see
each part which worries me. the basement
floor and i develop a kind of kinship. we bleed
into each other and talk about feet
on our chests. which chest is mine? which one
of us is bigger depends on how you measure.
which chest is mind depends on where
the heart is. i wonder if i hit my head, if i am
wetness instead of splinters. it depends on if
the heart knows the feel of its own hands.

day 1

the first licks of spring always come this way: wet and over-welcome,
worse at first with no care for your dry socks and still all muck. i wish
we were not the degree of desperate that makes us thankful for this.
the days are tepid and long. the weeks are bathwater turned sour.
we sweat in our winter jackets but are too scared not to wear them.
what if it gets cold without the sun, if the wind picks up. what if our
bare arms touch.