Riding over the water’s enamel
cold leaks from the sap. A fish
slows his heart in the hollows, flecks
of his spine a sequined rind of sun.
I wanted my mouth to split the lit space
between the words dance and don’t,
slipping out of the dress mother bought me
before it was thrown away, not turning
from loneliness, really, just learning to treat it
as wind, to make a meager meal
of what boyhood of lacquer and moody
I clung to. No one can brighten the sky
that’s been polluted by smoke’s crooked sentence.
No one can govern the past into gloaming.
But I will not make a life out of pain.
Each animal walks with a cloud in its throat,
each outline of body a beggar. The train
crawls forward. Light percolates through the ether.
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