Would you be such a one, then, to layer
my tired skin with kisses, until it was chapped,
scabbed over in contact? Give me thus an exoskeleton of
microscopic cells with which to shield myself from the world?
Should I have chosen you as the saviour, the suitor, the king?
I place in your crumpled palms the keys to the city of my soul.
Spare the battered widow who lives feebly beating in my chest,
her mourning shroud is gritty with use. She knows not how to rise.
Should I have given you suck at my breast, my lips, my fingers?
Is it you who will become the avenger of my plagues? You who
will layer your sweet-water orifice over my rust flaking tongue
to deepen your lungs with red tides, to drain the locusts from
my ribcage? Brush away the winged deaths beating at my eyes?
Do you wish for a goddess to grace the prow of your forehead?
I sleep tomorrow wracked with sickness on your seas.
The messengers refuse to reach me and unto home have
turned their heel. No more of you shall reach me this easily.
How long did Sita wait in the barren towers for her prince to arrive?
Must I forever fear the wings of leather bats
against my heart, heralding that this quick love, too, is dead?
Will you become stalwart, be that one who teaches my softened hands
to callus again with the oils of another's skin? I have known that roughening.
I exhale in the night with the ancient creep of Egypt's tombs.