in the street, a small boy hums the twelve
days of Christmas under a hot June sun.
cobwebs gather like cotton in the windows
in a matter of days; i stay
up too late reading stories i already know,
wage war with my body, long to sink
drowned in a hot bath, or back down
onto the cool stone floor
of the kitchen where
you made me forget the heaviness
of my skin, where gardenia slips
through the screens– the plant
they said will never make it
through the frost.
every movement of my hand
is hedged; even dreaming;
even sweaty against the tile, there
are still more clothes to wash,
still more doubts to run clean.
it is hot for this time of year, we’re told,
no relief in storms.
it’s five a.m., and a firetruck screams red
& white through crust-eyed darkness, winding
its labyrinthine, becoming distance,
still; soft; threat.
this: the summersmell
of sun’s warmth smoothed
on entwined skins & their mattress promises;
his weight against the crescent of your womb
& peach moonshine on late indian half-full
nights, amber-fingered and dripping
like candleflame through open windows;
the sweat that beads on scars; the slight lightening
of irides from hardwood to hazel
in riverlight on a Sunday afternoon
under a sky like September
with clouds like a ribcage
spread in a deeper inhale.
it is enough to make you feel like drowning,
like you are being brought back
to life. some days they can pull you
from the pull of the water.
some days you simply sink.
the leaves are nearly gone now, but the rose
we planted in early May persists, and i
can see still the scars the ivy left, pulled vine-like
and root-wise from the inside of the back fence.
when i feel lonely just right, they itch, the dark
fingerprints like love-by-night bruises
on the inside shadow of my back thighs,
drunk on espresso and vodka and dreaming.
it is after one, and the sheets have lost their color.
you are painted in moonlight through the open November
window, a crack. the rose is without perfume, but
we have no need to breathe. it is near noon,
and we are tangled in the poems that haven’t come
out in so long. my arms are stronger for it.
the leaves are nearly gone now, naked and dead,
but people gather in the park over the city
to sop up the autumn sun. there is a girl
and a dog and you are distracted, and dreaming
tastes like soap bubbles, easily broken,
worth the bitter for the bloom of the November rose