Their Names Will Not Pass My Lips

Prizing his consolation
     of parting kisses
          like a contraband Roman
               Candle meeting its
                    end out on the porch, bringing

home the Fourth with the gift of
     a war’s warmth, missiles
          of flesh affectionate and
               effectual, its
                    destruction feeding on our

assumption that we will some-
     how meet again, fire-
          works blown to barely glowing
               little explosions
                    and one last spectacle crash

melting down to folding bone
     ribs picked clean of hearts
          whose murders my telling of
               tales should have foretold
                    waxen cold martyrs’ toes plod

over without remorse, lips
     like corpses dripping
          ignored prayers with scripted pall
               buried rejections
                    resurrected when going

out the cruel way we did
     when going out with
          me’s too much to handle, when
               all we’ve left now is
                    flicker-sweet, the crackle of

love’s cinematic flashes
     moonlit massacres
          a montage of spent passion
               cutting to abrupt
                    inaction those suicide

poses lacking direction
     criticism his palms
          pan faster than my hand can
               commit to psalms, pause
                    letting me know for sure we’re

toast before I can even
     burn out, so we French
          and we fuck, but then again
               it’s just the third act
                    the dénouement before we

both give it up, this ghost of
     the Us that never
          was, and I still don’t know how
               it feels, or what my
                    character’s motivation

is, how I should play this and
     never will, until
          I’m no longer lit, until
               my marquee dims and
                    sobered quick by its neon’s

fading grin, I can stop this
     pretending and then
          appreciate having lost
               him, another one
                    whose name will not pass my lips

but whose last kiss I credit
     as yet another
          major influence on my
               role’s success, a big
                    part of its development.