Your curls are soaked in gold but your fingers
cling to my back & could work
a filament & needle through
the gash that leads to the decayed
rafters of a barn
hush the pigeons who coo there
one by one by
breaking their necks
The river smells of September wending
through the dry fields
a blue vein
your thumb traces along a wrist
my wrist
careful never
to the source
I’ve slept with the image of your
arm on my chest
your breath collects in the tiniest
droplets on my neck
but touching myself
to your scalp’s human smell
tarnishes the mirror’s
silver backing
Another woman holds
your beloved’s hands
You hold me like the blue
of an egg you’ve found
bulging from the grass
Trade your house key for
a clutch of mums
we'll put in water on the sill
Fold your ring
in the chapped hand of a man
waiting by the exit ramp
though the jingle of coins or
a bitten chicken sandwich
would do
Turn to me & lift your hair
I’ll clasp on you a necklace
strung with the heads of snakes

Copyright © 2020 by Kyle Churney. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 7, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.