Are All The Break-Ups In Your Poems Real?
one of them wonders what time I am coming home.
When Cleopatra received Antony on her cedarwood ship,
she made sure he would smell her in advance across the sea:
perfumed sails, nets sagging with rosehips and crocus
draped over her bed, her feet and hands rubbed in almond oil,
cinnamon, and henna. I knew I had you when you told me
you could not live without my scent, bought pink bottles of it,
creamy lotions, a tiny vial of perfume—one drop lasted all day.
They say Napoleon told Josephine not to bathe for two weeks
so he could savor her raw scent, but hardly any mention is ever
made of their love of violets. Her signature fragrance: a special blend
of these crushed purple blooms for wrist, cleavage, earlobe.
Some expected to discover a valuable painting inside
the locket around Napoleon’s neck when he died, but found
a powder of violet petals from his wife’s grave instead. And just
yesterday, a new boy leaned in close to whisper that he loved
the smell of my perfume, the one you handpicked years ago.
I could tell he wanted to kiss me, his breath heavy and slow
against my neck. My face lit blue from the movie screen—
I said nothing, only sat up and stared straight ahead. But
by evening’s end, I let him have it: twenty-seven kisses
on my neck, twenty-seven small murders of you. And the count
is correct, I know—each sweet press one less number to weigh
heavy in the next boy’s cupped hands. Your mark on me washed
away with each kiss. The last one so cold, so filled with mist
and tiny daggers, I already smelled blood on my hands.
my aim is no good. The floor is scattered with fire hazards, declarations unread.
After The Auction I Bid You Good-Bye
My limit is spent, loud and certain as the auctioneer’s racket.
Upon Hearing The News You Buried Our Dog
I have faith in the single glossy capsule of a butterfly egg.
I have faith in the way a wasp nest is never quiet
and never wants to be. I have faith that the pile of forty
painted turtles balanced on top of each other will not fall
as the whole messy mass makes a scrabble-run
for the creek and away from a fox’s muddy paws.
I have been thinking of you on these moonless nights—
nights so full of blue fur and needle-whiskers, I don’t dare
linger outside for long. I wonder if scientists could classify
us a binary star—something like Albireo, four-hundred
light years away. I love that this star is actually two—
one blue, one gold, circling each other, never touching—
a single star soldered and edged in two colors if you spy it
on a clear night in July. And if this evening, wherever you are,
brings you face to face with a raccoon or possum—
be careful of the teeth and all that wet bite.
During the darkest part of the night, teeth grow longer
in their mouths. And if the oleander spins you still
another way—take a turn and follow it. It will help you avoid
the spun-light sky, what singularity we might’ve become.