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Contrition

last night i counted knuckles like rosary beads:
who art in heaven? not
us who trespass again and again, tiptoeing
across our tongues and sleeping
in beds of steel wool warm clenched
tightly, my jaw in a praying hand, striking
flint and steel
flint and steel.

now and at the hour
before closing the door on
old hinges gasping after my hands, red hands
curled too tightly in rush hour roads shaking
with the sound your knuckles make as
they drop, clasp broken, beads
bouncing like marbles glittering glass
in a scoop of light scraping up dusk.

last night i left baby teeth in
the open corners of the house bending
over winter, over ants that never stop coming,
wrapping my mouth in a gauze of memory and breathing
in summer chloroform. if we don’t say a word
after august we can hibernate
in recent conversation.

one decade, your diamond glittering
and bouncing against my cheek, your forehand
full of grace. i took tally of your pinky
to ask if this is penance, a reminder of
original sin born on forked tongues and slithering twilight.

all night marbles bounce without breaking,
the hardened shell of summer overripe
with old light bruised against the door
and the sound of knuckles knocking when
can i come home? when can i dream again;
i am tired of this earth rotting my heaven.



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