by Michael Gray Bulla

Where do I go when you touch me?
Maybe I shrink so I can fit on the surface
of a coin. Quarters jingling in my
pockets. My jaw aches from the effort.
The morning drips into evening like
coffee from the pot, which means I drip
into and out of myself like coffee from
the pot, which means I try to kiss
away the taste of silver but sometimes
something slips through. Something
slips through. It’s the moment
before I fall asleep with breath
on my neck and a heat climbing up
my body, my spinal cord a ladder,
so, yes, I try to kiss away the silver.
I try to find where I went. Check under
the dirty laundry, in the pocket of the jeans
you slid off of me, and I don’t mean
to make this a violence but somehow it ends
up as one anyway. David, I can’t let you read this.
Where do I go when you touch me
so tenderly? The knife drawer, the washing
machine, the bottom of an empty mug. No
matter where I go, I plaster on a sickness.
I love you means I will love you means I
am trying to love you but don’t fuck
this all up, okay?
Love notes in pieces
like the clementine we shared. Pockets
heavy with the hand you held and change
for more creamer. Jaw tingling
with a kiss pressed there, here, there.
I’m sorry, David. Even this I want to hurt me.

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