Crawl Back After
Arms pinned back, he barely spoke
to those knuckles but they answered, just ask
the split incisor, his cracked rabbit tooth—
now, when he flosses he saves it for last.
In bed, the most generous, grateful prose is written
which is to say, the most sincere. She, who has
already taken back what she could, sulks and slumps
in a fitful cab, wind howling through the half-window
like a bomb-cloud skimming skyscraper tips: empty
with anticipation. She spins silently at the light, before the old
magnolia drops its petals. One flutters in and lands on her lap
like a snowflake, exceptional, matchless and steady, not melting
but breathing above her knee, which she slips between the pages
of a magazine. He, at the same time, was pissing in a trash can,
tugging at a smoke until he could barely breathe. Dizzy, he tipped
the can and cracked his head on the sink. She whirled and rolled
herself into a knot that night, a dance written in a dead language:
the approach of a kingfisher diving. When he returned he discovered
they’d shut off the heat, added layers with a bottle of wine.
He stayed up late reading a Dictionary of Theories,
but could not steady the lines on the page. He spent an hour painting
and remembered days he would sing the shower clean.
In the morning, he’ll attempt to glue the pieces of vase. He’ll fold
laundry to the drama of some foreign soap opera, understanding
the similarities, save the hangover, to a high school football game:
twelve minutes per quarter. He’ll squander an afternoon
composed by Hans Zimmer, which he shall refer to
as the Day of Black Smoke, Fire, and Back Pain.
About the floss, he saves the cracked tooth for last
since the line frays, ruined like most once they touch.
She admires the fine writing of dusk and all the subtleties
of the year dislodged, or gently dismembered.