A week of coughing and fitful sleep.
Pigeons at war over the allocation
of crumbs. Irretrievable hours spent
before a screen, shades drawn tight
to keep out the glare—and still my eyes
are sore, my back. I step outside, take
a bite of November fog, press it between
my tongue and teeth. There is a taste of
acorns, coffee, jasmine sweat, gunpowder.
I spit into a pot, set the world to slow
boil: I’ll just lie down in the meantime,
trust you to wake me before it’s too late.
I see alleys of discarded mattresses, sagging
and soaked in piss and semen, resurrected,
pristine. Our bodies touch, dissolve as sugar
in heat. We are ash falling from the sky
like a puzzle; our blood once savagely carved
the rivers we float on at night, dreaming of
peace. Only in love do we arrange ourselves—
limbs here, ambitions there. Only in love do
we have strength to break this embrace: to each
battle, alone, what now rages out of control.