Scrape the Side
I’m an oilcloth stuffed
in the back pocket of jeans
you don’t wear. Brass buttons
on a work-shirt. Over
exaggeration, under simplification.
You make me feel like a mary,
a jane, a barb, a hole in the arm
of a nightshirt, a scrape down the side
of a chalkboard. A shoe neglected
in the driveway, remnants of broken glass, a telephone
left off the hook. Funereal.
Collaged. Designed as mute.
A video snatched from the air.
A sonnet confined by its own form.
Villanelle. Villain, the ink in
my pen could kill you.
your brother comes to you in a dream dressed as
someone other less he will unpeel
gradually your elementary school lover arrives
late he has a tree in his hands he’s promised to you he’s
promised to not throw it at you this time he’ll appeal
to your spinal cord—rows of apples named bone 1 bone
2 and so on if he takes one he’ll crush you your teeth
have fallen your teeth in your mouth chip
at your interior bone 1 and 2 and so on your body
your body loves you less than it loves any other object
in its world your tongue is loose any minute your loose tongue
will hop onto your shoulder and tell you secrets you’d long ago swallowed
your tongue is frayed your tongue
your tongue quotes freud your tongue is not one for the pictures no one
remembers tongue forget to forget is to you crash
you current you bone 1 bone 2 and so on you sleep stilted
you salt you lick you bruise your brother comes to you
in the night your brother comes to you
in a dream your brother is not your brother when your brother is only your lover
is an elementary school strong man your brother is elemental schooled you
recess you swing you slide you outline someone handed you chalk and you drew
squares on the side walk your brother drew numbers your squares
your brother is a chalkboard you read freud your tongue fingers your brain’s
translucent waves your teeth want you want to be you eat you dream
impotence you read freud your lover comes to you in a dream your brother
handles a tree your hand draws a square you are not inside that square you
are your brother your lover is a tongue on your shoulder your brother tastebuds
on your tongue on your shoulder you are teeth leaping out of your mouth take a
night close your eyes count your sheep your bones want to curl up next to you
tuck in bone 1 bone 2 and so on god you say god
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