In the Text of Your Hand

Smoothed lies, rubbed and polished,
     dropped like silk on your arms,
     how our harm reduces
     itself to the softest
     tolerable trickles,
     its bruised brass sizzling
     beneath the bushel, your
     lamp of a lip softened,
     quivering, every
     flicker brighter fire than
     before, every kiss
               a smouldering shell spent,

guns clutched, I embrace yours
     restraining me, holding
     heat, how evenly men’s
     battle lines draw themselves,
     sketches of closed borders
     where dissatisfaction’s
     tracking, etches of cold
     passion I thought had long
     retreated, but in our
     captivity of this
     evening, even pipe dreams
               bombard me, as your squeeze

seizes me, warm moments—
     or lost hours? months or days?—
     no delay too great to
     make me think of all the
     ways you scheme up to take
     my innocence and my
     and all of this tops off
     what those refined lies, so
     smooth, rubbed onto the room
     when you conquered it, a
               crumpled idea of a

man drafted then scrapped, clutched
     in your palm, and under
     the sequoia-solid
     trunk of your form, I fall,
     in the text of your hand
     all becomes motion, brash
     static words no more than
     misfortunes of language
     unable to explain
     what pain I feel, contain
     all the variables
               of our situation—

sores incapable of
     articulating for
     you how real my wounds are,
     joking as you do, and
     take me to be, too, yet
     unspoken and in speech
     unspeakable is what
     my doomed shadow self is
     wanting now: to brighten
     this gloom that consumes me
     when we part, how lonely
               my dim-lit heart always

gets and wants to be with
     you, walking out of night
     through the sunlight of your
     dawn-dripped field—whatever
     part of you never wars,
     what dusk-kissed park lifts up
     its lips of frost and calls
     to you, thawing the truth
     gnawing while greeting us—
     I want, want you to talk
     for me and about what
               causes my silent thoughts

to sting, this reluctance
     wanting to sing love songs
     romancing soft passion
     to hard reality,
     but since I cannot and
     you haven’t got any
     way to tell, this bombshell
     will have to say its piece
     as desire lays its waste,
     and I am strangled by
     what I want and have not—
               your counterfeit of love,

so for what seems a bit
     like another late gift,
     I will take this little
     companionship offered
     as proof of it: that you
     know too well what for so
     long I have refused to
     tell, writing out for you
     this tale from within my
     self-constricting prison
     cell, a confession still
               too subtle, yet revealed.