Concerning the business of finishing second—whether
Honey sticks to the palms of your little ones
Because it was sticky from the moment it dripped from the bottle
Or it became sticky once bonded with the soft flesh of hungry little hands.
Whether flowers in the garden die because they are not watered
Or if they die because they were fated to go unwatered.
A half-hitched hello is thrown to one
And a salutatory hurricane to another
In every half blind eye,
The kind that twitches in the act of chewing.
The Olympics never famed a silver medalist.
In the rainforest, when a green behemoth falls
To the leafy floor (a grand old sage who likely saw
The forests’ beginnings, when the old magi
Spun his honing wheel into green and brown
And sprinkled it out across the wet earth),
The only sapling to survive and take his place is the one
Who grew from the most favorable soil.
The lucky sapling who was intended from the start
To make the canopy seamless again.
God favors his fated favorites.
Keep the fiery fingers dormant in your chest,
Never allow them to escape,
Hold them at bay until the contents of your skull
Melt into a pool that seeps stagnant into the legs
And makes walking beneath the stuttering streetlamps
With your head up
I’ll write another invisible epitaph
At three in the morning
Spin the words through my fingers in a manner that felt graceful at the start
But grayed with time, cracked along little weak points.
We’ll step toward the shadow of the stairs,
My left foot swinging outward slightly, habitually,
For an illusion of corrected balance,
And I’ll hold you back with everything in my arsenal
Other than my words and my arms,
But shoes pad their way up the stairs,
The door opens, the night rushes in,
And I’m alone again in the darkling house
With a familiar lovesick scent on my shoulder
And the air framed with yellow sparks.
Notes don’t come anymore,
At least, not like they used to.
I don’t trust them like I did
Not when the phone’s light illuminates a downturned face
And you get out of your seat and step outside
When every word that passes my lips,
That had festered in my stomach
And absorbed every inch of me
Is for you.
Four months in London
In a dusty room
With a stack of letters and a broken heater
And a capricious brain
But New Year’s came and went
Not with a bang but a whimper.