In the mornings, I forget the deadbolts
of wind through the sycamores. Soon I will rinse
their sockets in spring’s dirty luster, each branch
skirted with pale fat. To ripen, blushed, and still taste
like the spoiled pickings of the city.
Any season bursting into rebel fruit, the tender weight
over my mouth. I’m hungrier than you think I am.
The years before I took the red line,
before muslin curtains & the imported teeth
of tulips, I wanted to mirror: I wanted
to preserve: the soft blanch of milk,
week-old & still sweet against my teeth.
I slouched under paintings
of women pensive in their neglect
& in my grief I stripped patches of paint
from the walls: veiled faces, my domesticated fear.
In the golden years, I forgot to turn
the lights off, bulbs gleaming like keyholes—
is anything a mirage if it lingers
in the dark? How I practiced
sorting old batteries in the slit mouth
of the sink. I thought I could make something
of it: the run-off from any body of water.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell between blight
& natural despair. The rich decay of it all, good
for scrap or fertilizing my milk teeth.
Those nights, I scrabbled at the stoops
of closed restaurants, cold cuts of meat on display.
Somewhere else, a record player lurches
towards static. & all the notes bloom wild,
traffic warming to bodies. Does this sound familiar?
A trembling of the needle: my hand against
the door. I wanted to hold the city close,
you gentle, rotting thing.