Do you know those porcelain cheek girls?
Maybe once I was one of them,
but they’ve never had the guts
to excuse themselves by saying,
“Don’t take it personally, but
you are such a tedious specimen,”
at least twice
And let them know
just because I am not omnipotent
I’m not remaining that forlorn:
chin on hand, elbow on ledge,
weeping over burned rye,
waiting all alone.
So here I go again.
Both sufferer and opium,
both hunter and prey,
following the green glow
of the emergency exit sign,
down to the subway stairs
right to the masquerade ball,
where war orphans left their corners
to pull down my checked school skirt.
Whatever you say, and you say too much,
you’re not more or less than one of them:
pinned butterflies, methodically mounted,
voluntary victims to decorate this spider web.
(In some sense, I have to admit,
you were terrifying right:
from all those layered faces
melting down the flashing lights,
from all that swarm of insects
praying to be devoured,
from all those human bodies
crying to be described –
from all them, I chose you.
I chose you and I took you home.)
I woke up and, despite all predictions,
I could smell you in the dark.
You, and your well-measured pulse.
You, and your noisy functional lungs.
Your most intimate devices showing,
opened and exposed like blood inkblots.
I should have said something like
“Leave them on the doormat,
you can take the rest with you.”
I should have said something.
I did not.
You sent me a blackmailed angel
to gaze at my pale blurred face
and cry. Then said:
“You, my favourite catalogue of entrails.
You, the queen of the calendar.
Drier than wet cinnamon, easy smile,
perfumed with candy cotton
It was a very nice detail…
…probably a too nice one.
It’s not your fault, I mean,
I should have guessed it from the start;
but now that the water is rising
and our scalpels are lost in the mud,
now that your body is blocking the exit,
could you just run upstairs and leave me behind?
Separate nerves from muscles,
bury veins away from neck skin.
Do you notice these globes under your forehead?
Salt water means corrosion – don’t ever let them shine!
(Is it too late?)
It’s been an apprentice mistake,
there’s never only flesh and bone.
Please, PLEASE. Don’t get any closer.
We are more than flesh and bone.