self-portrait in a porch fire
my glasses, smudged by
her milky face and chewed fingertips.
my glasses on the sill
in the bedroom. my kitchen billowing black.
my screen door smacking.
my faucet not filling anything
fast enough. my voice
another’s: snarling, buried, wicked.
my girlfriend looming
over my shoulder, half-heeled.
consumed, reverting to
skeletons. my garden
burnt, my girlfriend’s cigarette
bursts the soil.
syllables slid up my throat
from my boiling stomach;
they’d burst through the spaces between my teeth.
of port wine, old pennies, dryer sheets, lime cordial,
of reheated Italian dinners and
of waking up nervous. I pursed
my lips to keep everything in.
words churned on my palate, defeated; few escaped
out of the corners of my mouth
as a watery liquor the bartender had called Black Death.
I swallowed my tongue,
the most powerful muscle, and let it slip down into
a place I’d forgotten.
your sentences, creamy, coated me in pinks and blues
and became my medicine.