you seem like you have a developed a
patient practice
memorizing our delicate contours;

first your fingers,
then your eyes,
trace gummy  worm spines              taste it
women’s arched backs
soft wet flesh,
mouthful of yes
near the bed frame
as they fall into you,
as they open knees
as they open attachment,
as they open
gash and you  

stiffen      you watch
with now closed lesions
using us like drinking fountains
and we bleed irresponsibly
but remember
some mouth full of
indifference,
an old word or two
you threw like a heavy blanket ,
a band-aid
   no
at their scapula and
they straighten back.
they stay  in bed as you
are (finished) a leashed laceration,
tied to some place we can’t guess
with sleeves and scripts and
ambivalent attachment, chin tilted
towards street, and
a swallow that was almost a word but
you’re on one bad laconic streak
so you just sniff the air and
don’t offer them water.

they are holding space
on the floor,
Indian style,
in case you need warmth.
you have a coat so you
politely decline,
hand them their hat,
put on your shirt,
call them a ride.
bare feet, gather their socks,
tilted backs to check for rogue earrings,
grab the scarf from the doorknob
near the door frame,
remembering the gentle no
moving backs,
wrapped in sweaters, pea coat shields
as they walk
quickly, quietly
 (forgive the boot heel)
a clacking no
away from you
that isn’t felt
yet.

years have gone by and
what lovely new spines:
unbending,
unending bone,
untended memories of
cool depredation,
once spread like legs
now inflexible.
once swaying effortlessly
like reeds in your lake,
now planted firmly in the dry
not yet.
spines that are walking,
sauntering,
coming back for an earring they forgot.
machete sacrums.
nerves like fighters
marinating in indignity,
blood lust,
no.
so many years have gone
by and these spines are

razor sharp from your
diamond stone tongue,
growing and 
ready to write
you.

“backbones”

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