Love Song in a Bleached Room
I wait a long time before Anya comes:
off duty she smiles and my skin goes electric.
Take me home, I say through my unmoving mouth.
Aren’t you asleep yet? She asks.
Not asleep, I say with my nearly dead lips.
There is a moon outside or no moon. The lawn
stripes with light or no light. In the pavement cracks
insects are living their unexamined lives.
Anya won’t talk when she’s tightening the tourniquet.
My veins are so fat I almost giggle –
swollen rivers to places I’ve forgotten existed.
She tells me not to think too hard,
it’s bad for my readings. She charts me like a ship
despite the fact I’m anchored safely to the bed.
If you try to jump there’s fuss –
the lifejackets taste of bitter rubber,
the lighthouse comes straight for your eyes.
Anya, If I say her name forty, fifty times, it means
nothing, it’s merely sound let loose.
My eyelashes are on the brink of extinction but
my arms still work. Up down they go
when I ask them to. All right when I plead.
Anya knows my arms were not always like this.
I could sing once, I tell her with blinks,
show tunes and passages of light opera.
Her curls are shiny like ribbon
or frazzled with fatigue, and either way I wish
I could touch them.