You need them to need you. 

To feed you plastic 


meat in bowls and nuzzle 

you with naked hands. 


To do things you could have done 

if you remembered how. 


If the warmth of the kennel 

didn’t make you forget. 



They bark 


so that you don’t bark back 

as you’re meant to. 


Be ready, 


as they glaze you with praises 

like honey on ham scraps. 


They’re built to love you, 

campfires still dance in the bright of their eyes. 


But they’re also made to leave you. 

When you limp and can no longer chase. 


When your sugared tongue refuses to lick. 

When your ears refuse to perk. 


Die, and come into your own. 


Young Gods 


My child, You are an apocalypse. 


The flicker of mothflutter in your throat  

is the essence of an ending.  

To suppose that I once held my own death  

in tremoring hands, that I sung lullabies 

to euthanasia herself.  


You’ve grown so much. 


Others get letters from their children, visits 

maybe, for the lucky ones.  

I receive neither, 

but I see the moon in pieces and I think of you. 


You hop over realities  

like you once played jump rope  

in our front yard, letting the winter grass  

and weeds wind in between your toes.  


I wonder if you think of that, of me,  

as you push this boulder into the sun. 


I wonder if you can hear me calling 
over the death rattle of the winter grass. 


Little girl, 

chase your tail in temporal circles if you must  

but please,  

don’t forget this: 

even a maid as mighty as yourself was once mortal. 

Was afraid.  

A young god, but still.  





I went too far.  

You’ve never forgiven me for that. 


Dressed in black, always the capricious one, 
I bathed all that we had 
in your bedroom, I quivered and bent 

in a thousand directions. Like the drying paintings, 
the lines of my body 
were tactless and arabesque in your sketches,  
stretching outwards, but you drew me anyway. 


You used to make me, 

to mold my skin underneath the fingertips  

lifted now between teeth.  

The paint was never so red, I think.  

But the figure in whitespace was me,  

not this muddled canvas, this 
cubist thing. 


I begin to wonder 

if I ever did know you.  


You invited me over to see  

how this art has taken you. Your possessions 

that never needed me. Your dogs 

who have forgotten me. Both of these  

raise their hackles as I cross the threshold.  

Oh honey, why did you bring me here, why 
am I to stay sentry while you wash  
your brushes, cupping hands to make 
a ritual, to give yourself 

the control that I couldn’t.  
After all, I never modeled for you, 

I could never sit still.  


Now, to see you bless the canvas,  
my goat heart swells beneath my hide. 


The Order of Execution 


The executioner is hereby ordered 

to follow through from head 

to chest 

to gut 

until the vein below 

the jaw is 

the only thing left, its bow 

and quiver springing back 

with every word. 


Shoot and restring. 

Shoot and restring, the vein 

curls like an ouroboros letting 

arrows. A porcupine ostensibly decorates 

his needles in self defense  

(although who can deny how good they look 

when dipped in red?). 

The vein is the proof, the boar’s heart— 

the body is not dead. 


So perhaps the executioner’s title  

should be weaponsmith, 

should be hunter. 


The prey’s Id is folded  

into an origami arrow, a compass 

towards her adolescent hurt. 

A glare is third degree as much  

as any slur or slight. She becomes 

a heat-seeking missile  

of a woman. 

In the eye of this new warden, 

all sins are equal. 


The Lamentations

So much reminds me—like ears folded red, velvet 

petals on the head of some kid in the front pew. 

They will fall soon enough, 


like my countenance in winter—some chapped lips  
and the saint name you never knew. I do,  

no longer. I’m not, enough— 


no dessert wine dripping, not sweet enough— 
no beeswax candles, not bright enough— 

no icons to kiss. Not holy enough—I 


cross myself, and hope and hope and hope to die.  


You say, enough. 


The wine of your name on lips, dripping, stays patient enough 

fractured, frenzied, filaments of my rapture, not measured enough, 

my personal puppetmaster— 


No son of God, but you are enough 
To deny my salvation. Though I spend enough 

time on waxburned knees, mourning enough— 


I love you. And that is supposed to be enough. But, 

without the moon-eyed laughter buried between cheeks, 

the circumference of your curls seems infinite. 

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