when it came to me
you said I was all
 muscled positivity
as if I didn’t hang myself once before;
as if I didn’t try to tell you

how cavernous a grin is,
or anything at all.
even though you are never sure I won’t
find that perfect bedsheet knot
or not or a razor or a kitchen knife
or a drunk night on the freeway and I’m
headfirst in the cement mixer
but I made it out of that
in jail and alive and I am
always palms clasped and grateful.
you say   you pray
with FERVOR  as I finger the locket,
my brother’s ashed clasped
around my throat
and I hold onto
that same little lie
about choice.

I let go of the wild lavender
sprouting from your toes through
the hints of splattered paint.
there’s a meadow in your abdomen
coaxing foxes from their
holes    your knees knock mine,
sudden sting         close and sharp
  the way memory sits on your skull
then pulled back
how you held me
far away sometimes;
making wind happen
blowing kisses from the pines.
the bath is on, I’m cold.
you always say
I’m cold.
I beckon to the side:
you and I are from the same
arctic sky.
help me in so I feel
the frost of your fingertips
trace me;

my broken back to you now.
my nails are brown tipped and filthy
from digging myself out of my ancestral
grave and I’m spattered in the ,
sweat from a hard night’s day,
walking alleys, stalking shadows
and you’re truly unremarkable
these days save
the mosaic of carpenter’s paint,
some gray cement
garden: no flora, no fauna,
and even God told me to pause  
and rest on my previous laurels
before I get carried away.
but i’m a martyr for this,
I crave repercussion

I become a
yawning, clanking watering can
spritzing your open lips,
dolling up your stolid ground
to birth your stories:
pollen murals out of micro gestures,
extinguished longing that suddenly reignites and
I’m grabbing cattails from the gales to
comb out the tangles of your childhood,
fistfuls of mud    planting seeds in the
tiny cracks around your chest that my own
sharp-toothed grief left when you
muttered the first
no  and I stepped a few
years back.
freedom will teach you how
to stay in all new ways.

there is no difference
between love and liberation
and some were born saints,
you say as you help me
in the mugwort bath,
the smell of rose and lavender.
I plucked the petals and dropped
them one by one
for aesthetic reasons.
not free of indulgence, but
patient   your fingers make
stems in the water.



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