By cigarette light in the slow-pulse speaker of his open hands
he’s holding either a woman’s genitals or a rabbit’s nose-bone.
A man who was never breastfed weeps milk into his handlebar.
To neuter a dog before she’s birthed a litter
increases the chance of cancer.
He knows now that the cog of his head always turned anticlockwise.
Though sometimes under his shirt-and-tie he feels
a clockwise gear grinding on the others.
He watches lonesome strings of porn through the thumb-holes of scissors.
He keeps the sequins from his prom-date’s shoes in the safest place he knows.
Snow and chains of tugboats are the order of the day. His
is all the dynamism Bernini put in stone. What does a rock do when it’s frustrated?
How can Daphne finally become the laurel? When will the damned soul stop screaming?
There must be a way to get Pluto’s fingers
out of the muscle of Persephone’s thigh.
But for now he’s fucked and that’s the truth of it.
The caribous have reached the tundra in time enough to freeze. Still
at least there’s Tennessee Williams and John Steinbeck and Baudelaire;
at least there’s those evenings in July when the smells from cooling leaves convince me
I too might write a half-way-decent line.
Slowly he closes his fingers like a mesh of wires; throws away the dout
and slips that piece of flesh or bone into the pocket of his jeans. His phone turns on inside
the rabbit’s smile of her opening lights like a flashback.
The moon is a cancer patient. The stars are smoking
the last cigarettes they can afford.
All the way home he thinks in beaches grained in hail;
in the tail of a humpback rising from the sea in search for the missing pod;
in white bears greased in blood-loss, tracking the female’s footprints for twenty miles.
He wishes everyone would stop calling love a human need; would learn how the body
can survive for a lifetime in this way.