DIRGE XI

Nothing actually begins the way you have it.

Just the ice cracking over old women who want to get out.

Tell them the rescue crew exploded.

Tell them anything that doesn’t burn your mouth.

Someone once loved me.

Someone else pulled the trigger.

Someone fell down all the stairs in my head.

The beloved arrived without umbrage.

The beloved untangled the river from sun.

Roads grew between my ribs.

All my memories became radioactive.

It became expensive to take up room.

Time, a commodity.

Every language says hello.

This is how to say I’m frightened.

This is how to articulate distrust.

Someone should let the prisoners out.

Someone should sit down with the mother of the sociopath.

Someone should be kind.

The birds became sky confetti that dreams of birds.

My fingers are weaving circles.

A mountain breaks the camel.

A camel becomes sounds.

Now the desert seeks new shadows.

Now the shadow takes drinks into town.

The open-mouth lily calls cloud.

Skins are left for new takers.

Shattered temple lights forget stars.

In most narrations, gods are lost.

In most letters home, the war may end.

Slowly, we know blindness.

Animal sounds after the trap closes.

I promise to pull you from the building first.

To bandage your wounds at the last checkpoint

where we never met.

Every language says farewell.

Tell them we were happy.

That I flew when I should have been swimming.

I miss my breath but not uncertainty.

We did meet before, but you won’t recognize.

Not all kisses carry betrayal.

We have become the sea where the captain drowned,

where his wife waits with a lantern—

anxiety abuts the margins of what we could say.

No one told the phoenix this is fire.

Daedalus, I’m sorry.

Gilgamesh, you tried.

Something has transmogrified.

We were shaking our own deaths with night-lamp fluidity.

Everyone’s pain is personal.

Night ended like a butterfly.

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