Lost softness softly makes a trap for us. —Gwendolyn Brooks Michael’s skin splinters below the water’s line, his navel and all murky and lost like a city from my old life, or that scarf I’d loved, the softness with which we sink into what disappears, and the country of his groin and knees so softly already blackened. His sister snores below my hands. Her mouth makes tadpoles. Her breath wet from chemotherapy, I’ve massaged her a- sleep. Her shoulders swell their small tides. The air burns leaves. I want to want to trap her sighs, dividing the stillness, in glass, to a Mason jar: breath like smoke against a window—: for this man halved by water. But we sit in sun and grit, watch the waves which lose us.
Touched by Dusk, We Know Better Ourselves
You map my cheeks in gelatinous dark, your torso floating, a forgotten moon, and a violin crosses the sheets while you kiss me your mouth of castanets. I believed once my uncles lived in trees, from the encyclopedia I’d carried to my father, The Philippines, the Ilongot hunting from a branch, my father’s chin in shadows. I try to tell you about distance, though my body unstitches, fruit of your shoulder lit by the patio lamp, grass of you sticky with dew, and all our unlit places folding, one into another. By dead night: my face in the pillow, your knuckles in my hair, my father whipping my back. How to lift pain from desire, the word safety from safe, me, and the wind chatters down gutters, rumoring rain. I graze your stubble, lose my edges mouthing your name. To love what we can no longer distinguish, we paddle the other’s darkness, whisper the bed, cry the dying violet hour; you twist your hands of hard birches, and we peel into our shadows, the losing of our names.