If your name will ever not be
gravel in my mouth, I wonder.
A is how public alphabets begin.
A is what I write at the top of your letters.
[Happy Anniversary] A-
[Happy New Year] A-
As a child I was forced
to make a show of saying
I love you, day after day
to a woman with cruel blue eyes.
Now, I say it to you,
and you say it to me.
What a marriage ending looks like
I saw up close before puberty-
financial stress, infidelity-
I do, I do. I do, I do, I do, I do-
I hear myself say I’m married to a room,
and in the room, am the most startled.
I attend a monthly dinner alone
(by which I mean without you)
where people share hot tips
for how to be less in debt
then get drunk on wine and convince me
to buy things I don’t need.
Growing up, I associated guilt
with wanting anything
except books; good books were safe
if used, if read more than once.
Language was a rewarded vice,
and the Good Book best of all
to be caught eyeing,
though dangerous in its own ways
with its impossible orders like
Walk as a child of light.
To want light. I tried. I did.
My trying has cursed me more than anything.
You say I should be more selfish with my time
because you don’t know the hours
I photograph myself
naked to share with no one.
I’m sorry. I love you. I’m a creature
most at home
replenishing my venom under rock.
The entire days of silence:
this is how I knew we could work.
Of all I could seduce, only you could I imagine
crawling over, crawling beneath
for close to a century, curious.