First Minute, After Days
Quarter-light tips in.
A room shaped like a mismatched trio of brackets.
Each bend or angle bristling with other lights.
Drunken or weary. Lost or left.
In one bracket a chair. Dark monitor.
Disorder on a blacker field.
Someone’s hands bound loosely down.
Skein of plastic braided into the mouth.
One hand charred black and almost
Black, a color like green. Wait—Mine.
Then I was lost in a stranger sound. Quarter-light tips out.
A machine gasps in surprise.
Throat closed by what opens inside it.
Spun sky, unhappy stairway. Stark record of summer: bright, harrowing. But it wasn’t the brink. It was an uneven surface, was a jumble of absences. They waited for me in the sycamore shade. Violet current, stuttering eye. Watching me disappear by degrees. You pressed my shoulder, held it to the wheel. And I haven’t even told you what I fear most, what’s buried in the flesh. Selfish desire, I kept you like a secret. Wanted what I could get. We built a boat from all this, set it adrift in the tarpaper night. Mended my skin with barbed-wire. Covered ourselves in refusal. I forced your hand into mine, though I knew you couldn’t go where I had to go.