Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me
the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.
Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.
That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of a pomegranate. I would lift it
tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.
You’ll drop your pen
and its insides will rattle a lot like ours do
and you’ll lean down to pick it up
and you’ll draw a string onto my leg on the way up,
straight as flatline.
String like noose, like tie it around my ankle
tight to remember, string like I’m here
for the long haul. String like let me underline you
right here, string like strikethrough to-do list,
here in this lecture hall with the echo
and the marginal notes about
That night, I’ll dream of biting you bloody.
I’ll dream of kissing you long, kissing you wide.
I’ll dream of climbing into your stomach
and pushing into your throat and
cutting cracks into all the walls
and introducing myself.
I haven’t washed it off.
I scrub around it in the shower.
My bruises overlap onto it,
bites of achey clouds still hanging on 6 o’clock.
Tomorrow, I’ll wear a dress too thin for the day,
and ask you about your classes and
when she walks by you and while you
turn around to look at her, again and again,
I’ll draw a line at the nape of your neck.
String like noose, string like tie us together
at the spines to remember each other by,
string like baby, you’re here for the long haul,
baby, you’re here.