Take the man you think you love and his
fabulous lips. Take him from one place
to the next. Let him drive your car. Let him
drive it through the mood-crazed woods
until it overheats. Let the nights feed
from your eyes as you look at him. Do
not turn on the heat. Do not spill
the flavored oils of the heart. Do not
eat from the palm of your hand
a fluid ounce of what you may need.
Do something illegal. You only have to be
there when they bring the contraband in.
You only have to leave yourself behind.
The stars know. The police will prowl
your neighborhood until the plate number
matches and the car checks out.
When they bring you in, you
must remove your shoes and belt.
You must pretend there was no felony.
Then you must confess. Add your past,
a pinch of the rage you feel, and how
you sit until your father bursts in
and asks whether you have been arrested.
Add a mother who tells you she is
ashamed. An expensive lawyer. The way
you remember the taste of his kiss and
how real he was and how he would
drive dark roads at high speeds through
the back woods with the headlights off.
Remember what the stars see. And how
once it is over the lawyer will send
a letter saying he said you knew nothing,
saying he tried to keep you out of it,
though the police said he had given
you up as they made you say his name.
Ode to Love
Place its toothpicked pit in water, watch the grist
of its insides grow. Witness its populous bloom,
honeycombed with rough. Its cobblestones grip
the heart in its mitt, a closed fist thickened
and gritty as silt. The swamp of the plumb beat
adamant as weeds. The dish of which is salted
by complexities or cries. It is a house in which
we cannot live, the quiver on the arrow
we cannot launch. It grows late over Nevada
as we watch. Strikes its gullies: we grow burnt
as a moth. Mimics a sleep of archives and
the small lies all forget. Mimics all laughter
broken by the time it leaves the mouth.
With its moving parts, its chimes, its gleam,
it muddies our archways, lying low, gives off
noise and steam; its mechanics clear the fence.
It must be wooed. Must be quieted. Hush. It must
be soothed. Has a snag. Has a bleed. A drape.
Flaps awkwardly, at its edges, a heron. At
its center, a wide bottom perfect with fish.