Anthony Thomas Lombardi

& with every sunrise another reason to mourn

at AA meetings i used to upstage the old-timers        who cradled sins
the way soil shelters the dead        my mouth a moon
-less cave & an orchid tucked behind my ear        when i qualified
with my own story i couldn’t remember half of it
told instead the legend of the huma bird        who never alighted
on land or branch        spent its years in flight
above cities like gurgling throats        wings lithe & torrential
as a piano’s final chord        now i remember too well
the trail of bent nails        stacked palms leaking rust
ancient christians called an anxious heart
the 8th deadly sin        a shark’s beats for an hour after it stops
swimming then gets picked apart by schools of fish
or so said the nurse when i sat in a hospital        piss pink with blood,
& a twitch in my chest        i’ve been scrubbing my hands
skinless ever since        even at rest i slink like a sentinel
peeking through curtains        where black-crowned herons drift
as if poured from a bucket        so thin & saintly it feels voyeuristic
to look        i’ve been stealing glances at disappearing things
since my lips could hold their spit        my beloved’s back
its narrow march         a star’s shadow        now i only swipe
the severed grapes from fruit stands        allow bees to sail undisturbed
around my head       lose myself in strobes of warmth
that bleed through clouds on endless planks
i know they call this grace        it’s the mercy i can’t take
Anthony Thomas Lombardi is a Pushcart-nominated poet, activist, and educator. He currently serves as assistant poetry editor for Sundog Lit and is the founder, host, and curator for Word is Bond, a community-centered reading series that raises funds for transnational relief efforts and mutual aid organizations. His work has appeared or will soon in Guernica, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn with his cat, Dilla.