November 5, 2016

so here's what happens when you
clean off the kitchen table: you start


to think, because no one gives more than
a minute up. your mind begins
to wander down the narrow alleyways
of poems you thought you had
written down last night but
instead let die with a whisper as soon as
they were born, because it was
one-thirty in the morning & you were too
weak with sleep to find a pen. you carve


clarity from the patterns in the
patches & think about words
you haven't loved enough - words
like "fir" & "haze" &
"huddle" & "seedless", the definitions
of them swaying like wildflowers in
the faded meadows of your worth. you sweep


little crumbs & crumbling seeds
into the dip of your palm & pinch grains
of ceylon cinnamon between your fingers & you
think about how today's charcoal was really
graphite & conte but it still left stains
all over your hands. you wipe


those smudges away too; the tap-water oozes
from the napkin when you crush it
with pressure. (& you know


now you are not a poet because
you write the same
way the acrylic paint
gushed out from the
nests of the palette
when you ran it under
the stream of the sink.) you decide


with the heavy headiness of the memory that
you will never tell anyone else about the way
you are sootsure but scared of your feet. you are


just a girl who won't
go to bed &
your jaw clamps down
on the wrong damn
teeth: & in the end
the only things you can't


erase are
the dark smoke-ring scars left behind
by the bottoms of glasses you held.

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