I’m stubborn in remembering you
even flayed like this around my
shoulder blades, and all those
hissing scales tipping time
over my wrists until the water
around me runs red, streaking crimson
unsurity through all the locks I thought I left
rusted shut, all my fingers broken off
in the ear-holes, and the whores begging for bread
in the alley and the denial needles.
I kept you all dolled up, draped in color
under Christmas-tree lights with a gag through
your teeth so you couldn’t drag my thoughts on
the straight and narrow. You were pretty, up on your shelf,
and I forgot while I held you tight how smell can sift
like sand through my fingertips and how
warmth is a relative emotion, when all you dream about is fire.
I knew the exact moment you fell,
when the keys turned and the violins trembled
and my eyes rolled back in my head while I writhed
on your remains.
You were soaking through the floorboards, that remnant of
vanilla and leather, heady dreams of a past life when no one
but you even bent to touch my side-scars.
I scrambled on knees, like the prayers of the homeless,
trying to lap you up before you drained
through the cracks, my tongue weaving and sobbing
when all those splinters opened it up like
red petals in autumn, swimming forked to snow again.
and all I could think was, god
you taste bitter,
until I realized I was bleeding through my eyes again.
I could have washed your feet,
instead I bleached you out of my carpet.
This is my sidewalk, I think, the one I should have found
myself hog-tied, bone-white in the December sun by now.
It’s the one I’m spilling myself out on,
flat-on-my-back against the stars while they laugh
because it’s a rape of sorts when they steal your faith
and you’re supposed to feel warm, but I wanted fire
so they sear me to the stomach with their remorseless
lack of simplicity.
I’m just waiting for you to come back and get me.
My cheek is in the puddle forever
and my name is mud while I lay still
beneath this rain that’s washing
sin off my hands
but not my brain, once it
starts refracting again.
I’m not broken, and I’m not glass, but I can’t be liquid forever.
I can’t melt off the sidewalk any longer.
I should get up
because walking is still solid, but it hurts too much
to hear all the meaning in the echoes of
where are you.
*"That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight losing my religion, trying to keep up with
you -and I don't know if I can do it." -R.E.M.*