after Adrianne Lenker

I was supposed to be writing you back

I was supposed to be describing my desires

The moment I plugged my ears, not the clouds on the ceiling

How the heat doesn’t burst

Where you sheered the gap with your thighs, a black skirt

A glossy rainbow beetle eating a lanternfly

A wasp displaced from the splintered wood door

How rain flattened the sky

Blank lightning scorching the undone bed

My chest flat with bones which don’t die

Bones, which persist like hair, inanimate, as stones persist

Mostly green indifferent appetites

When the animal god dies it’s spoiled with worms

When anger reaches its iron tongue inside it burns

I used to get off on a small, concentrated sensation

It took years to undo the glue of experience

It’s a big gap for mood

It’s a dark stripe in the darkness

It’s how I remember nothing in particular

Tracks of metal gridding the street

How a body could produce an iron nail if iron in blood assembled

I didn’t think I came but I must have

How angry it made me, the indignity of not touching

The gauzy light on a woman’s face, her idle desires

Compared to the way we fit two hands inside, hungry

How indifferent to particular folds of skin

There was a bottomlessness to the negations

Whatever it was burning gold inside a ring of nots

I, untied, dispensing promise

A commitment of green circling green only

Not what you might think, a hawk in the dead tree

A velvet rope cordoning

Nothing eventful happened so I forgot it

That’s how life moving through space works

Comparing the size of palms, smoothness of thighs

Caught in a loop I knew from history

Not capital, not significant, of a personal nature

A solemn quality of knowledge, what others might call god

Hair collected in an archive versus

Hair drawn in a long strand from one’s crevices

My horoscope says to do the smallest thing possible

The trees say indifferent rattle in the wind

This was life, normal, tidal, I considered it

The dead papering the street with their notices

Related Poems

Twenty-One Love Poems [(The Floating Poem, Unnumbered)]

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine—tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come—
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there—
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth—
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave—whatever happens, this is.

Everything Is Going To

As we unlocked it
there was nothing
in the safe
I wanted
to embrace
someone there
so intent to record
all we saw
paying attention meant
but you
at that age or later on
a kind of stage
your solitude
a fictive situation
parceled among the crowd
multiplying your every gesture
in outline
unto degradation
I wanted to stop
defending comfort
and touch you to
begin undoing
the rigmarole
of our passing


with the anemone zero.

Drink 12 oz. of coffee in Longmont.

Are you parched?

Is your name Pinky?

What color is the skin of your inner arm, creamy?

Valentine City rebate: a box of chocolates from Safeway.

Yours, yours, yours.

In its entirety.

Don't collude with your inability to give or receive love.

Collude, instead, with the lining of the universe.

Descent, rotation, silk water, brief periods of intense sunlight
striated with rose pink glitter.

The glitter can only get us.

So far.

Here we are at the part with the asphalt, airstream Tupperware,
veins, some nice light stretching.

Call me.

This is a poem for a beloved.

Who never arrived.