Poetry from NER 38.3 (2017)
We don’t know yet each name for each body,
but know precisely two: one shooter, one friend-
of-friends, an old tie from your old life
and my old life, before it was our one life—
Look, look at our lives. Who would not cry
at the messes we make? Which we are we, right now;
which we do I feel most part of? We love to hate
somebody. And you, love, you love Chick-fil-A,
the warmth of every employee inside, and the warmth
of a waffle fry against your hungry tongue. No matter
if hate harbors deep inside, or high above in the command chain,
you feel the love all the same when you walk in
to that holy franchise of Jesus and fried chicken.
But me, I love the love we made
while a man strapped two guns to his body. The taste
of crispy duck, bite of bitter grapefruit, fragrance
of celebration. The clinking of our glasses:
Happy anniversary, baby. Not knowing, not needing
to know yet that it was happening, that by the time
it was starting, we were nestled in, repeating our mantras:
lucky, lucky. There is so much I cannot fathom.
No, I cannot imagine what it would be, to raise the gun,
gaze down the barrel, aim to kill everyone in sight.
So when you ask me, love, if perhaps today is one of those
when I can overlook the burn and raze, the rumble
in my belly, let love for you win out—
Aren’t we hungry, always? Our tongues inside
each other’s citrus depths, our own sweet joy a fleeting glaze
over the ash that coats my ravenous throat.