The Face I Can’t Erase

I’ve wanted to take back
so much more than

the night.
Not in the mood

for making up
prayers. Mnemonic

games go only so far. Silent
letters tickle ankles,

stretch walks beyond midnight
mile markers. This is personal—

trombones kill
the recitation calm.

Day 3,102

Rape or fantasy, a cat swimming
or drowning
in a river with no name. It had a name
I couldn’t remember as the dream drained

out. Comedians recite poetry—I can’t
write the words cancer, blood, weapon. No
courage. The very subjects I avoid
are the ones I should be wrestling

to the warm, dry ground.
For now, a French speaking club takes over
the coffee bar. And this corner
speaks to me without fear.

Fabled Current

I make these cutouts and teardowns
with my own hands. Rivers and rape
have no relationship

to me. I come for the winding
water story. The other is a dry,
desperate crack in a vase. The wrong kind of deliberate,

it exposes danger. Someone could attempt to play
god. It’s the sand martin I hope to hear
as it emerges from its tunnel. It’s the abundance

spilling through my fingers
I plan to offer. Who’s going to laugh at that?

Prayer (Day 324)

When I look at the moon, I believe in God
in phases. Because he who rapes the body no
longer rapes thought, I said, “no.” 

When I look at the moon, I believe in God in pauses
revealed in shadow giving consent to light. 

When a new moon gives back
the whole sky, I’ll begin
to believe this body is mine.