because hope is a motherfucker,
i went up to each house of the dead
and knocked, but no one answered.
still, i am haunted:
the sun sets a little dimmer ever since the last
feeble twitch of that cat’s tail, even
while its head lay red
& bashed on the dusked asphalt,
the traffic passing and passing.
because the heat doesn’t work properly, we
huddle nose to nose, the trauma of the world
reduced to a single stray hair strangled
in the neck of your tee, golden
in the breath of the bedside lamp; to
my hand on the hard hip
of you, claiming.
Do you feel safe here a woman stopped
us today to ask, one female to another.
No, i think, thinking
of the cat, how its dying dropped
me as fluorescently as
the news of my mother’s death,
four a.m. on cold tile.
this is not what she means,
so i say nothing, let you
do the talking for we,
though i think in your thinking
it is never we, even
while the gunshots we don’t tell her about
go off like confetti;
while the leaves fall on
our huddled corner like a red rain.
i knocked, but you never answered.
in a quiet walled space with two graves over—
looking the river, there
is a bench of stone
where we sat once, one
ghost to another, or maybe
we did in a dream, the late
light filtering through.
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