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your photo will be taken

in the grey government waiting room of stifled coughs,
not even a cream-faced clock to encourage
conversation’s spark. wincing squawk of bottoms
shift on black vinyl seats, watch the numbers A119,
C257, A220, A221, A222, C258, A223 as yours
draws near they throw in a F103 to make it clear who
is in charge. A sneeze arches over the rows of seats, pink
purple and burnt sienna paisley, decorated victorian lace hem,
the flu loosed, a ying yang unhinged, swung clear floating
as a quarter moon unmoored, pulling an influence over where
the white of eyes don’t look, nothing to be done but wait
for your number to come up. The black-haired cherub,
tongue stuck out in concentration, is held in the eyes
of his father, locust position on the seat, legs twitching
til he flings himself into the air, running stiff kneed
head tick-tocking as he runs figure eights around columns
his open laughing mouth the most color in the room.

laid on the table bare

fingers sink into warmed butter of skin
back soft as lips were, before the needy
pressing of whey of way of curdling bit-back
gasps, the tremor of body remembering
coming into itself through another when
holy shrouds and fogs fell away
and there was nakedness in the pupils
bedroom eyes giving way to anywhere
but now eyes. hardness like an exoskeleton
muscles seized and structure understood
by hands taking leave of niceties like mind
or heart. only matter matters. afterwards
soft exploration, ear hooked on ear,
playing heads back and forth
shapes, oddly distinct yet integral

Time Accelerating

Time Accelerating
(dedicated to Helena)

My Monday and Friday with all of space in between,
I feel the same as then, when presently, my mother,
elbows on the table, was exclaiming “72? so young
for the obituaries” and my click of tongue, so so old,
more life than I can imagine, me 18 and it taking forever
for the first kiss I’d get at 20, all my friends blushed with theirs,
my Monday and Friday with all of space in between,
and presently me, 78 so soon, me to turn the age of Balthazar,
my Monday and Friday with no space in between,
my child retired and needing my care again.
So recently my mother with her newspaper.
my Monday and Friday with no space in between.

ground now

mob violence, the eternal font turned read
stain consciousness, flogs sink in, read
and read unceasingly enclosed in the heat
of heart smacking you about the inner ear
lobes red with excited fear, smoke, dust motes
yourself in the shaft of sunlight, all specks
from black angel’s wings. Blink
the breath of chest of cat matches
that of your own. Eye the rhythm of real time
cover lowered try to follow the cat curled in sleep,
touch what is, listen, no screams, no violent nausea,
no hunger, no chill of coatless cold, wet kisses
of snow, romantic keepsakes of ache, no sunset-glasses
of doom, no fomenting, tormenting abuse. Use your
fingerprint, feel the pulp of page, feel air gap
as other timelines out of time fall away, collapse in
to ink on ink, nightmares of a child.

as a poet I am to court depression,

as a poet I am to court depression,
not with powdered wig and gavel on
charges of disorderly conduct unbecoming
a community pillar, exemplar, no, court,
not with love or score in clay footing
with racket sport but as in hoop skirts
flirt and perchance ask her mother muse
if we may perhaps, dance, gloved, find
our way though the pale tight steps,
sense her glance, catch the lowered lash
the cats of ninetails closing over her eye
lowering her face to mine, stiking us both
milky blind. She is immortal but I would die
of grief if she did or didn’t take me. What
have I to lose? Behold me, her suitor,
I would immortalize the goddess in mere
font, pouring, read and soaking into all
who splash themselves with the sweated ruby beads
in honor of her sparkling tears, running deep
riverbed troughs worn into her anorexic cheeks
as she ignores my beseeched shaking hand
for another dance, and I pine to glorify us both.