for Thom Foster, the titler of this poem
Sun angled on intense white snow seizes the eyes as prisoners.
The cell is lonely.
It lacks the necessary memory of other cells—
genetic codes inscribed upside down or backwards—
deviant conduct sprawled out, open.
I know what you did last night.
It wasn’t pretty.
I’m pretty sure you can’t disclose—
even though I know.
The mauve pills taste worlds better than the dusty blue ones
Their aftertaste echoes illness.
For an estranged instant, I become a segment
that purports to appropriate grandeur—
a line that strains the horizon’s dim
cloud-cluttered sky—though I ache
to be an arc, half-glowing moon—
not a linear diameter.
Can you begin to comprehend what I’m explaining?
I know you’re depleted by the day job and slipping
off the page. I’m incredibly sorry
the day swept you under the expensive carpet
you can’t afford.
The dog has lost his tag, so no one will know his name.
He can learn another if disoriented and given food, touched.
It’s healthy to move on.
The same roads lead to the same roads
to the ancient river rushing
its course through sharp stones.
I gather my deforming fingers across their surfaces
one by one, while counting
how many green stones
the river knows.
When they cut, I suck the blood
savoring the taste of iron.
I can’t remember the periodic chart.
I can no longer subtract by 7s.