That all-nighter we swallowed the fire.
You got hungry and jumped into Chicago’s Misfortunate Manhole.
So much for waiting for the cities to illuminate
and melt. You wanted to steal the cathartic hiss
of the policeman’s radio. It sang of a lover’s stained, desert sky.
You wanted to knock their windpipes.
God save the bridge.
The milky highways, the trains running backwards at the speed of light.
Tell me you’ll never get used
to feeling the slow wind of it reaching to a halt.
I wanted to stand in front of you and
block the wind. Even the slightest whiff could make you blink.
But that one second could’ve traveled light years ahead and back
and I wouldn’t have even noticed.
I should have also told you your voice was browning,
but it wasn’t your lion mouth that failed to open.
Your brain remembered the proper contractions.
Like 1000 how-to videos implanted in your head
but you refused to click on it.
I could test the way you wanted to sleep.
Drown in honey because that was the color of your father’s fists.
How sweet it tasted, like saltwater taffy
where his sweat made you shiver.
Your eyes focusing and refocusing
on the patched mistakes of the back screen door.
How do you like to say it?
City names, empty middle names,
mispronounced names crying to be read in the dictionary,
pleading in panic full names,
your second death when something whispers your name,
the author’s redirection in a damp library,
pet names you’ve wanted to throw your shoe at?
How do you like to stretch the bench we’re sitting on
because you couldn’t scrape your ass off the pavement?
Say my name,
you bigoted, flame inducing,
still moving, hand warming you.
Say my name so I can’t hear it again.