Deep into the kitchen’s gut, the street tides
back the unhooked warning: do not let him
become your memory of the city. By which
I remember how a man can take and take
until a woman shreds to splinter. For my
carelessness, I wait for some curse: a flash
and zap, or my toes to web and invert.
That night, I dream a lizard I killed crawls
back, overgrown. I cudgel it and sculpt out
its brain matter. When I wake up, the walls
smooth over like a frozen river. I cut my nails
and spring nerves. Aloneness, I finally think,
can be two things: empty or clean. All after-
noon, my body looms by the stand of knives
as I leaf out on its clear half-circle of blades.