To the Beloved in a Bathhouse

Intoxicated by
a mutual sweat
defining its own scent,

evacuating light
wets a ritual
of men; one of them bound,

another hesitant
to run, drops his towel
exposing sun dimming

under sight of something
strapping, sweat-shiny
youths singing to the size

of a window pierce through:
Belovèd, undo
your belt; shower our

lips in wealth we cannot
repent—fold mercy
into torn halves of what

we once had; prick us now
before we forget.

Panthers returning from

a feast in a mirror
seek no alibis
nor any guarantees

in the balmy, blacklit
court whose emperor
unbolted to covet

what dropped jewels he might:
Fallen jaws, do not
betray your deepest song.

Call and I come, summoned
from dry coals you’ve warmed.
All at once, come.
Their souls

disrobe a tolled violence
they’ve paid as passage;
one prisoner a prince

sits on the face of dawn,
tendrils of musk cloud
kissing the king’s bright mouth;

the other man washes
off his chains and pearls
a string of bitten path

past the majesty—past
the ecstasy that
called once—not coming back.