We tossed them back and forth
like grade school dodge ball champs.
Every time I ducked beneath one
I watched it sprout dark feathers
and hover above us
like a vulture,
long after the conversation turned
to something more appropriate.
2) The First
When I woke up with you,
I wanted to offer a slew of them—
all polished to a gleaming luster.
But they churned in my throat like bile.
I swallowed, feigned a hangover
and walked out your door.
3) Idle Talk
They sneak in stillness,
to evade a precision
that will embarrass.
They buzz like mosquitoes,
half invisible. We swat the air,
brush them aside.
I pick my dress off the floor,
but my skin is already itching.
We open doors, invite each in
one by one. They never come alone,
always bring a pack of unwelcome cohorts
in their wake. They linger
and mingle, bump into one another
tipsily, crowd our small space, all while
the hostess lies still,
It’s not a mirror, this hand
grazing my cheek. Nothing
of what I feel can be reflected
at me through your movements—
those tiny shards of glint and glimmer.
I’ve tried to give them back to you,
pick them up and look closely, but each time
it stings a little.
When you mount me, I feel like
the deaf-mute-blind girl
must have felt as she held the water
in one hand and in the other someone
furiously moved her fingers, placing disjointed
letters into her palms.
She knew the right hand cupped
water, but the ghost continually beside her
could represent nothing except
7) On the Roof
We don’t need them anymore.
And we don’t offer them to each other,
having lost all faith.
Yet still, as you prop me upon the ledge,
we can’t help but direct them at the illuminating
city lights. Fervent worshippers,
chanting Oh god oh god.