take the press of your lips
to my throat, angry nails
carving my shoulders into cave walls, take
the hieroglyphs across my back
painted with your mouthbrush and tongue;
take the night i said it in so many words,
how you held me–
how you held me later and your tongue
said want without vocal cords
take the tremble of my smile
as you lay sleeping in oatmeal–
take, too, my first gasp
as you slid hurtful and precious already
everything from me, if it can be temporary,
take it, but please
don’t take your backpack into the house.
we can’t leave without you.
everything around us is noise:
beeps and slurs and Kohl’s commercials–
but looking at you, hunched over asleep
inside the tangles of your hair,
your shoulders unknotted just a little at last
i could believe in peace.
outside, rocks sling themselves against the window;
a siren calls, and somewhere in this building
there’s the faint nasal grunt of an alarm–
but here in this empty classroom
under the thunder,
i am immeasurably calm, gripping my camera
channeling a baby bukowski in this algebraic stormwomb;
i am happy.
even your snores are sweet to me now–
grating susurrations sweeping your soft palate,
their fingernails scratching for purchase
in the grooves of your mouth.
they want to cling to you,
and watching you sleep beside me again
i can’t blame them.
i love you like the dirt that sits under your nails
and i think i’m a little crazy now,
because the slick of drool i wiped from your mouth
seemed for a moment to glisten almost beautifully.
let me nestle here against you in my madness,
for here alone i am content.
i wish i was asleep
these stars slide so slow across the hour,
remind me of the place behind my lids where
no is a vague notion
furthered by naysaying dreamless,
the sun is a stepping stone and
my body is only the anchor
by which i measure how high i am flying–
and somewhere on the other side of the world,
there’s a you awake and drowsy,
murmuring a pulse into the sleeping ear
of a content and curling me.