a soft closing

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

across a floor where no one dances


she leans in like
laughter; their hands

link, twine. it’s not
yet but the cruel

cusp of april, and she
yearns

for fire-rimmed
decembers.

the way her legs
cross says she

must have stories no-
one knows.

his eyes blaze
like sun-

lit secrets & i wonder
if he’s heard ’em, if

she loves him
that bad.