how work kills you

his smile rate dwindles to two per hour.
mouth like a hyphen, he won’t open his
lips to kiss me. he is like this sometimes:
a fruit fly drowning in peach juice, a bottle with a letter
that won’t bite. i try to entice him into leaving
teeth marks, something they will use as a match
for the dental records. he grabs my ass and nudges
me out the door.

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sunday morning

we are cleaning together for the first time
in months. and by cleaning i mean gathering
the cans of natty lite from around the broken
table, sweeping up shards of glass or making
sure it ends up in the soles of my feet. and by
together i mean you are sitting with your legs
propped on the crumpled table, empty bottles
stacked around your feet like members
of your court.

old girl

i imagine waking for the first time in three days
the neck of my mandolin clutched in my fist, both
of us missing our bodies, metal strings wound around
my arms, leaving termite lines in the skin of my wrists.
i would want to find bits of her around the room
saying from her throat: you do not remember, but
i was here. my earrings awash in the sea of your sheets –
they fell out or maybe you yanked them, clenched so hard
they poked holes in your palm.

(rewrite)

sometimes both the men i love
stand in the same room, touch
shoulders.

sometimes they take bits of food
from each other’s plates, order
the same dessert.

sometimes they offer more wine too often,
smear the tablecloth’s red stains
with their elbows.

when they both reach for the last drink
from the thin necked bottle,
their knuckles sound like stone on stone.

when they both touch my knees
beneath the table, i cover
my lap with the unfolded napkin.

sometimes i wish i knew better.

(Old poem) / Write More?

I found a very rambling version of this poem while reading through my journal from February/March-ish. I think I never really edited it and put it up because I ended up stealing from it for a bunch of different poems – there were several parts that I like, which I ended up recycling into other things. So I never put up the original. But when I found it today I thought I might as well!

Also – I have been not great at writing poetry for the past few months. I just haven’t been focusing on it as much as I want to be. I was thinking of starting up the “poem every day” thing again – especially since I’m going to be a camp counselor for two weeks starting Saturday, which should give me plenty of observational material to work with, if nothing else.

*ahem* okay, here’s the poem:

he moved in beneath my eyelids 8 days ago –
i could have picked any part of me to use for this metaphor.
his residency beneath my fingernails (a weak
explanation for the lack of chewing – I am growing
him room to set up his bed frame),
a nest in the pocket of my cheek (count his parts
like watermelon seeds, taste him before i wake up).

i could explain the terms of tenancy – see the lease
in the bones of my back.
i could have said he inhabits the hourglass between breasts,
how he hesitates to touch me but doesn’t wait
to make a home out of a woman.

when do you ask an overstayed guest
to start paying rent?