on our dates he’d take
a pack of cookies, a roast chicken, and me
down to the lakefront where stairs empty to saltwater,
hand me a wing or two, and lick the rest from
his knuckles, point a greasy finger down the coast.
a quarter mile away on Pontchartrain’s lip,
the isthmus, maw of foaming gulf.
Mexico yawning west, Cuba somewhere south.
if he’d ever taken me to that part of the lake
I’d have seen how the water pummels itself there
in a sweaty babble. the cookies we’d eat one
by one till the lake lapped up the yolk of sun.
I’d have learned sooner: myself with him – a box
of crumbs, how the moon pulls hunger up out a person
and crams it back down, the way water rolls
twice a day
in and out of this continent’s mouth.
artifacts of daily wanting
I wonder where I’ll be on that day.
it’s faith that scares me, same as unbelief:
who am I to be right?
I envy the way you cup a palm, say
drink as if all this — reproduction, vast
decadence of breathing — were my birthright.
I don’t know tonight from any other.
an empty intersection’s wan face,
I’m calculating so hard.
whatever can scratch the sidewalk
into giving up a little honey.
does time really remember us each day?
yesterday a boy with a faltering circuit
brain asked me if it would hurt, while
his mother inflated a bathroom with sobs.
it could be said that I ask for too much.
I’d just like to know if those are fireworks
in the garden or gunshots —
I’d like a fable with the smoke.
some lavender mornings trick me into
looking for the day’s warm root.
I know I’ll follow you toward
soft tea lights, a bed we keep making up,
but a wren in her brick nest doesn’t ask
how eggs appeared under her belly.
one day these chicks’ yawning beaks
will crown the exploding forsythia beneath.
remember permutations and combinations?
math terrifyingly endless. think of
all the things we could make:
my brain maps the garden
and the spread before us whispers
in a sunset empire voice —
slick poisonous sibilance I don’t
dare blame on a snake, which
is just a miraculous tube of muscle.
I don’t know how to twist with such
singularity towards the peach dangling
between us. I believe I’m ripe.
yes, it hurts, that’s the moral of the story.
yellow is the color of my wanting.
I’ll say to you, here is honey — eat.