Portrait of Two Men Embracing Under Cover of Stone

To Emil

Back at that table, trembling digits place
This modest gift, this quill, into my hand.
I've worn that selfsame tremor on my face.
I've known that cost of wishing to efface
That which I am, these fears of reprimand—

Or worse. We must conserve each scant reserve
To disregard rough noises of ces autres,
To brave that stream of neverending thought,
And be here altogether (Oh, what nerve!)
Steadfast, despite this instant, overwrought.

I watch you in that esoteric room,
Inhaling some soft object's artifice,
Each observation catalogued, consumed:
Lone joists, filled gauntlets, dwelling bones exhumed...
But now, in this grey vault, you are transfixed.

Your movements furtive, you become firm, hushed.
Your eyes, aflutter like some fretful thrush,
Now find my beard's barbed cactus, neatly brushed.
Your hungry lips are reckless, apt to try
For mine—alas, by silence starved—are dry.