11/11

finishing 

i can't remember the last time 
but i know it was on your bed
lit by a lonely string 
of wall-pinned christmas lights. i was trying
to give myself over in pieces. here is my leg
here is my hair & my teeth. i instructed myself,
trying to relearn a threadbare need. 
i said "take off her shirt" i said 
"pull free her belt." even coming apart 
becomes a sequence or, in the best circumstances 
a ritual. in the kitchen fruit bowl, 
clementines bruised each other. skin to skin.
mothered by a lonely apple. 
when i moved to new york, i said "all the fruit
is smaller here." we grocery shopped together
with separate carts at first & then the same.
your window looked out at the grey brick
of the building next door 
& it barely even betrayed the weather.
instructional conversation. "yes like that."
"can we switch positions?" "now." "less." all the while
i wanted to ask if she felt 
as strange as i did-- like i was piloting  
a ghost plane into an old chasm--right 
where i knew the plane would crash.
can you love someone & no longer know
what to make of your bodies?
closed my eyes. heard the smell
of her oil. clawed my nails into her back
as if she were the side of a cliff
outside it was raining or midday 
or night-- deep lamplit night.
an ambulance singing. a shout. 
her bedroom getting larger for once.
counting the poetry books
on her far shelf. the fruit we won't eat--
can't eat soon enough, in the kitchen
harboring infant flies soon
to hatch & waltz. when we were done 
i kissed her shoulder & she kissed mine.
sat at my desk in my room
with no window-- my clothes feeling 
unknown & desperate on my skin. 

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