It’s a process, opening back doors after dusk:
unlock, dim lights so flies and moths
don’t cloud the porch sconce, suicide windows,
try to squeeze through the yawn of a door
kicked, rasping, shut. In English, “admission”
means entry, allowance and confession, two
punched tickets, a mini of Jameson I purse
then spike my coke with on the boardwalk,
the resin saint, a gift I don’t want, but hang
my hoodie on. How can so many wings
flutter that the fluttering purrs electric,
statics a crank radio, morse codes
the living room lamp? The first time I loved
it was like a rusty Buick cutting down
boulevards, plastic flamingo mounted
to its hood. The last like casting into shore
for mackerel each August, our iridescent,
aging bodies toothed as serrated blades.
Once, a group of boys ordered me
to undress or threatened to do it for me.
A stray cicada purred a year too early
for the chorus, a decision that didn’t feel
like a choice. Even before that, I lived
apportioned, a colony of winged
insects flickering. I want what those boys,
every body I’ve ever touched wants, a modest
sun, something brighter than survival.
Nonetheless throbbing, constricted, a pit
splitting open with seed. Fetaled in a back seat,
I wanted to bend, to concentrate the leaving,
entering of breath, of cratered scraps of earth
as they collided, grinding away edges
like a concrete road pocked down to the brick.
I had just read the story of a dog ripping apart
a toy cactus to find a disappointed cactus buried inside.
The night before, slicing the cubanelle,
another sweet rooted like a book with a book in its belly.
Peaks and trenches of pulse echoing like cicada,
I heaved goldenrod, the butter of hospital labyrinth,
of drought, reluctant nipples, as if someone
had reached down to scratch away the jackpot,
the shalala of a paper gown tearing.
A hand, call it clemency, pressed ice to my lips.