Damage Done

Afterwards

 

Webster

And when I kissed your painted lips
the climax was ungodly.
Devotion dredged my cold canals.
The poison pitched me strongly

down to the floor, where writhing I
felt bone beneath the skin
and tousled hair. Caught unawares
I felt the pain begin.

My brain’s on fire. Body’s numb.
My veins stretch to be free
in ridges, sharp and angry still,
on a thin, unsettled leaf

of a poison Bible. Damage done,
I go I know not whither.
This kiss of death steals all my breath
and sends it to my killer.

Where murderers kill murderers;
where death is set in wax;
where hairs dig deep beneath the skin,
we pick conceits to set our sin.

 

Ex-Two

The second kiss creaks to the hour.
The clock hands wrenched to parallel.
The click of minutes clasp my neck
to mark each second’s subtle swell.

One minute past. I feel the sweat
that lubricates your underarm.
Your body’s the efficient kind:
it cuts and slices up the time.

Though stationary I wish to stay,
you long for nine to turn twelve.
Our rhythm’s out. Our feeling’s faked.
We’re past our prime. It’s getting late.

We part as strangers on the hour.
Convergence creaks past parallel.
The minutes yellow on my neck,
as rotting moments sometimes dwell.

The hours struck and left us bruised,
by dawn we barely knew ourselves,
as cold hands cut above each other
to mark each second’s subtle swell.

 

a thousand years

All the things I’d say to you and all the things I’d ask,
when far from home they find our bones once a thousand years have passed.
They’ll try to reconstruct you from the scattered parts they find.
Did I do you more justice when I claimed that you were mine?

All the things I’d say to you and all the things I’d ask,
now that tourists come to look at us behind the thumb-smeared glass.
Curators say there is no way to know what we once were—
too true, I see that mystery engendered all our hurt.

All the things I’d say to you and all the things I’d ask.
We can scrawl our motivations on the thumbprint-laden glass,
or keep them close and on our bones they’ll read what we confess.
They can circulate their theories in the academic press.

All the things I’d say to you and all the things I’d ask,
now we’re living in the lightening of each tourist’s camera flash.
With our jaw bones stained and broken and our tongues long turned to ash,
we can find a time for talking once a thousand years have passed.

 

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