the clothes we shared stare me down on the door
of a closet unheard, but when we met
i plucked watermelon and spoke and swore
as if venus shattered stone hearts set
in doubt and fear; and i’d like to know how
words feel lilting against your lips like leaves
of willows in the wind, but to allow
the moon and sun an ardent eclipse thieves
the stars of a steward. and for your name
to be one of song and dance is a bleak
irony for a pale lady aflame
with highland fervor taunted into meek
fingers and thoughts. confide in me desire
you’ve never shared under skies retired
from a day of drudgery in the fog
between bridges, brown rivers, and prologues
of stories written in irises; blink
away tomorrow like tears because we’ve
only tonight to strum cool maiden pink
skin stained red by snow. find me at the eve
of anarchy, clutching devil’s nettle
to my chest; cast a stone into my mind,
my lady decked in plaid, violet petals
in our hair decorate a love confined
to cabinets. so watch me as i hold
my breath instead, sated by the glimpse of
blue loch eyes and lavender skies gone cold
from the wan promise of a someday-love.
sinning with ophelia
what if we wore corsets of whalebone and held
oil lamps and charcoal between our fingers, what
if we sang with the birds caught between the window
and the mirror? you’ll take the salt and i’ll take the wax,
full and golden like gods’ blood, but darling, we’re
taming demons tonight.
first, love, you’ll paint me with woad and black
like the leaves of tomes spilled about our feet, but
will you watch the dye seep into my skin like
blood drips from noses to floorboards?
darling, cast away your collar and skirts, this is
women’s work, brutal business.
dress a chignon with rue and violets and string
rosemary and river rock ’round your pale neck;
let the lily’s blood pass from my lips to yours.
i’ll dust your shoulders with lapis, i’ll linger
on the freckles, but love, don’t spill the salt
when you shudder.
candles tickle fingers and laces, but the circle’s
cast and all that’s left to do is dance around
the truth of lust; take the devil in your arms and
waltz because she’s the only gospel you have now;
can you feel the flame above us, darling? whisper
sacrilegious incantations in my heart.
then pray to your paranoia, love, and
ask that we’ll never be found.
dead on arrival.
i know there’s not much to a box of used crayons
when labor day gives them away,
but do you remember the oiled pigment
staining your fingernails, staining your shoes
when they ground beneath the carpet and the soles?
do you remember your smile, your squint, your childish
determination and pride? you scribbled the world at
dusk and i asked why we still watch sunsets if
we know how they end.
and did you hear the music threading through
lawn mowers and storms last night, did you dance with me?
i should’ve guessed that the stars preferred
the sun to the moon (like calls to like), but maybe
they needed a silent love. still, your heart
beats like cicadas’ wings and i thought it would
keep me awake forever (and i thought for once
that would be alright).
and we never did get to play chess
but i’ve still got you in check;
it’s your move.