Before I fled, I fed you my fingers
and we tossed the fresh-washed sheets
like loose dirt, you yelped
sometimes like a coyote, alone,
efficient in her hunger,
sometimes like a kicked dog.
When I gave you those descriptions,
You said, What’s the difference
between a deserted coyote
And a mistreated house pet?
I bled every night from your open kisses,
and you stalked the house,
stripped, to model the ladders
of bruises my fingers made by holding on.
acts of geometry, impatience,
You even sung
a few spare arpeggios,
and I groaned, Sprechstimme—
I could never carry a tune.
But nothing we did ever approached
my happiness or the birth,
though I never knew you planned it,
was to be a product
of our bedroom. Never was. Amen.
I am still sore, years later, from the strain
of holding you down and holding you back.
You were continuous, inedible, and never
softer to me, even when I winced, or asked
directly. A heavy bulb, the altar
of my lap, the middle of the day, your fingernails
took root and stayed wherever they pleased.
If nothing more, our predicament
was a contest of attention—before we decided
how we slept—to decide
which one of us could be fuller with the other.