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October 14, 2022

To Emil

I cannot move in this precocious dark
Because I've forgotten how to be slave.
I cannot boil boar's head, abandon hunger,

Stand stock still, sing lullabies, be mute
(Whilst you ablute my lute).
End of reason returns. Air has some

Fresh tinge tonight. I sense it easily
In my back, as I notate wind
Who walks through my house, cool and unbidden.


      These things I will remember when I die:

      The smell of everything. Unholstered,
      Our schedule of trespass.
      Men, wild with willows. Sharktooth vibrato.

      Walking down some dirt path,
      Half-recollecting one-seventy-third of some poem
      Boiled down to deafmute recitative.


Haunted by anapests, I stumble into crevasse,
Dream of accidental acquisition of third wife
While inquiring for price of fish. As I fall, I observe:

Ghosts hanging on bushes in bushels. Sly social queues.
His velvet tongue watching me dance, my thoughts undressing;
They turn and spin and vacillate betwixt: curse, blessing.

Exhibit A: Laetus lacrimis. Furtive desire
To be beheld. Seaming around rainbow. Portrait of lover
As part-time husband. Portrait of lover as forearm plank.


      These things I will remember when I die:

      Solitary cinder block, aloof from family
      Of cinder blocks at landfill. Cloth dappled
      Over shadow—or is it other way around?

      Awkward surprise when lights return.
      Lines shamelessly stolen from beached swimmer.
      Poet splayed upon dark wooden floor.


On exiting small gallery, we dream
Of ribs of house, intentionally left to blight.
Metrical feet tangled in mutual time.

You help me metabolize μούρλια,
While around leaves explode underfoot like landmines.
When we stop, we admire these lovely teeth of fate.

What gift it is to stand here, listening,
To shadows of that man who dared to raise his eyes,
To heavens' court reared up, his cords constrained,


And then—let go, convulsing, to our world.