No one talks about February’s cruelty,
a month of rotting figs
that will not acknowledge its flies.
The point of all this living: to preserve
the heart’s gentleness, rather than contribute
to its hardening. So I help you fill
your apartment with green things, but
we darkly know, browsing aisles of fern
and aloe, we are choosing
what to kill—what eventually wilts
in the stream of days swarming
the sink-bottom. That naming
a silent thing does not save it, only
twists failure into funeral.
Unbearable, all that is given
to us. We wished for trumpets
and received skeletons of brass.
When your spine flees the freckled harbor
of your back, it will sound like wind
licking open a screen door
at the bottom of a well.
I tell you my theory on vulnerability,
how it’s a history of foliage
shadowing the window above each body
that has passed through mine.
You say it’s more the sinkholes
pocketing these craggy rivers, then describe
every round object in the room except the chrome
terrarium of our breath.
In this dowager night, we take flashlights
to the abdomen’s damp holler.
In mine you find a raccoon with teeth
and one without, each leering at the other
to make the first move. Meanwhile, a pair
of hungry lanterns fix their sight,
a splinter on the horizon line.
How I wade through the sawgrass of you,
learning to love equally the coyote
and what it doesn’t yet know
was built to bleed beneath it.