GETTING IN LINE
The first thing they do
is assure that you’re safe
that no one can see you behind the glass
the second thing they do
is bring in the line of suspects
and immediately it’s harder than you thought it would
being mugged by beauty
is not the kind of thing a man likes to confess
admitting that you’ve had your breath stolen
is the kind of thing other men will judge you for
they ask you to take a good long look
and really be sure
and that’s when your confidence walks away…
your confidence is shot
you say her number
and the detective calls her forward
like frost bitten water
like you did and still do
in that moment after you ask someone to dance
you are frozen
waiting for an answer
and vaguely recalling how often the word “no”
sounds like a shotgun blast
being fired into the air
she doesn’t mean for it to come off that way
that’s what it takes these days
you look at each suspect and slowly start to realize
it’s not what she wore
it’s not her height or her hair colour
it’s not even her skin
it’s the way you don’t even have
to see her
to tell that she’s smiling
you hear it
as if her throat was lined with
tickling the words out of her
it’s not a laugh
and this isn’t funny
how easy it is to love her
but she did nothing to provoke
she is innocent
it should be you in that line up.
In the miles from your headboard
to your balcony doors
I have spent an entire morning
tracing the sound of you arriving home
across your ceiling.
There is no silence like yours.
It shakes through me
like the blessing of a new apartment;
the anticipation of surviving the night
to discover you in the morning.
In the morning
I watch God paint with his left hand
across an empty sky.
I count seven hundred fish scales
shivering in the breeze,
shaking out my old names,
calling you back to sleep.
They sound like a tired kitchen floor,
this choir, this praise under our feet.
They sound like your chest –
an acre of flight –
crashing into my hands,
we’re lost again at sea.