The Public Job of Blood

Jim Simmerman

What we wondered as kids about the light

in the icebox we’re wondering now

about love. The apple digesting itself

in the pantry. The corpse in need

of a shave. All that goes on when no one’s

around to see it or say what it means.

All the king’s horses dead on their feet,

the fastidious glue of dreams. Last night,

tucked away in our separate beds, did we

fall out of love into sleep? Did the stars

boil down to a soupy incandescence?

Did the moon rot away like rancid meat?

Romance is a perishable gourmet

gyp, like those dyed flakes of fish face

fobbed-off as crab. If the public job of blood

is to bleed, its private job is to scab.

From Moon Go Away, I Don’t Love You No More (Miami UP, 1994); first published in Ploughshares

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