cabin fever

we fuck hard enough to knock
the himalayan pink salt lamp off
the bedside table, send the organic
lube and shea butter tumbling
onto the carpet. the salt lamp remains
intact, but we check only once
we’re finished. the lamp falls about
every other time. but we replace
it in the same spot. we are dutiful
with our ions. this is winter fucking—
it is frantic, too little heat then too
much, a desperate attempt to feel
like the day accomplished something.
we try new things. some of them work.
most don’t. the sweat freezes on our
noses, condensation turns ice
on the window. it is us against the cold—
the only way to prevent us against
us. february can turn anyone.
the snow would be beautiful
if there was just less. your skin
is too pink under salt light. the days
pile up like a drift in front of our door. 

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and edges

today is about finding what new things i can rub
myself against. chair back, door frame, neighbor’s
mail box. step off the sidewalk at a bad angle,
knock shoulders with a stranger. so what
if they are a little angry. i never unlearned
bad attention is better than no attention.
i have been so long this quiet domestic:
carpet beneath my toes / refracted
sunlight. i am ready for a brush with
anyone. the vines on the porch have been
dead since november (it is january now) but
when they were thick-full of water
you could touch the leaves with eyes shut
and imagine them into flesh. there are surely
enough bodies in this world for each of us
to get a bit of one that isn’t our own but it isn’t
like that. how is it we earn pieces of each other.
how innovative can i be with this one body
and all the stone, leaves, railings
and edges i can reach. maybe
there will be a dog somewhere
and it will run itself through
my fingers until my hands are fur hands
and the owner leashes both of us.

sugar high

i spend the whole afternoon making cakes
you won’t eat. they all turn trash differently.
the lemon turns dark where it touches air,
the blue-gray of storm clouds. the pumpkin:
frosting turns sour first. the carrot — each bit
of shaved vegetable starts to grow mold,
the rest of the cake remains. i try to read the rot
like tarot. i am not sure what this means for us.
i imagine i am getting better which does
nothing. i imagine you are getting better at handling me
which does worse than nothing. when the mold
overwhelms them, i leave heaps in the front yard.
the city animals ride the sugar high for days,
careening across the telephone wires and falling asleep
wild-eyed under tires. the street in front of our house
is part asphalt part fur. you say the city should clean up
this public death. you feel the dried, flat skins
on your body like punishment. you should have
just eaten the cake. i had to make them,
crowding us out of our small kitchen like artifacts
from a happy life. i am fooling no one. when i stand
on our porch the road screams with a dozen toothy mouths.

distance

i wish your love did not feel as far
away as you are. i am no good
at distance. i am the same size
as my body when it is with yours but
feel smaller. it is amazing how
4,000 miles away everything
becomes you. two boys throw a frisbee
in a field. i order peanut butter ice cream
& mouth warm it. all of the parks
have ping pong tables. a man on the train
has stolen your skin, hair but forgotten
to take the rest. still, i try to touch him
just a little. it is not enough
but it must be. the days are easy. i am full
with the newness. at night i eat dinner
alone with a beer like melted caramel, walk
home like i am trying to find anything
except my bed. a man stands outside
an apartment building with an armful
of flowers in a way you never have, but still
i put his jacket over your shoulders.

all pupil

he pulls a gun from the closet
as if it were another household
tool. it is as long as my arm. he wedges
one end into his shoulder, the other
looks like an eye, all pupil. it is a staring
contest. he says bang laughs lowers
the barrel walks into the kitchen.
i can see the thing leaning against
the cabinets while he pours three
fingers of whiskey into the hole
he must have beneath his tongue.
i do not blink.

summer camp

the younger girls giggle and write “gay” in marker down their arms.
when the sharpie letters start to fade, they draw pictures
of girls kissing girls on each other’s backs, use the term
“raging lesbian” to describe their barely pubescent bodies.

the older girls talk about touching themselves,
about how sometimes in summer a body is already
so slick it seems impossible not to, about the way they trim
their nails. about how it is hardest to keep your hands
off yourself. the younger girls listen with their mouths open.