Who Finishes the Sentence

Will drink the new wine. The only conversation
I’ll have this weekend
is with you. If
erythrophobia was fatal, you would have been

a serial killer. Or was it just me?
Not yet vintage, I wanted to be
your only victim. A true enough
kiss to taste the tobacco

before it became my own. I long
to be the person again
who comes along
to stir yours. Though I can’t lick

your ghostly replies, the scent is rich
in pre-fall burning. Hold the leaves.

Erythrosin

What was once a blush
you so eagerly sought
to induce has become

a flush
into my middle
age. The gap has been shrinking

steadily for nine years. I hope to catch
you in another nine. Grief—nothing
embarrassing about it.

Peony

Acacia or yellow
tulips won’t do. Lime
blossoms too much, bellflowers
not enough. No,

I choose you
because it was the heat
rising from my throat
across my cheeks

to my ears
that he wanted
to generate.

Nothing more, nothing less.

No Ginger

“I stand on my head on Desolation Peak
And see that the world is hanging
Into an ocean of endless space.”
—Jack Kerouac, from the 1st Chorus of “Desolation Blues” (Book of Blues

Prone to motion sickness, I’ve looked
for adjustments. How to encounter the rolls
and curves without losing myself
when I have a suspicion 

I should do just that. How to
accept this condition, this disease
of being human without
somersaulting over the bluff. How to drop 

everything I battle gravity
over to let stillness in the center
of a wild wind be my single garment.  How to be
a mammal without a thick coat 

of fur. How to be upright
on two leathered feet. How? Like this:

 I’ll let the blood rush
to my head without blushing.

Extension

Better to call it rose, not
pink. Better to leave off
the accent. Those bricks don’t 

match. The lining up
gets lost. Everything has a seam
in it. I’m not 

blushing anymore—there’s mine.