seven days of reflection pt.1

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i am delighted by
small mementos
of your presence.
a single hair
on the rim of the sink
the stain of your boot
left worn into the carpet
scratches slowly healing
on the curve of my back.
tiny flecks of memory
you leave behind
like whispers to remind me...

we have fucked
seventeen times
behind fogged car windows
and locked bathroom doors
on couches and chairs
and the floor
of every room in my house.
but i have yet to allow you
the coolness of the pillow
or the warm embrace of my sheets
when morning sun filters through closed blinds.

the shower
has become our accomplice.
scalding wather
scent from under skin
skin from under nails
our indiscretions
swirling with soap
and disappearing down the drain.

sins of the flesh
become real
when told by the pen
and i swore
(in the way those who lie to themselves
often do)
that i would never write for you;

at 46 minutes past twelve
you were backlit by sunshine
streaming through the open door
a dark form
as you approached
an angel
coming forth from light
i fell into you and
we broke
open, like dammed water
finally unleased.
your tongue, my neck
my fingers, your back.
lips and limbs
tangled in silence
our hunger
restrained only by the brevity
of stolen moments.

i can never belong to you
and you
are shackled to a broken fence
so we love in
half-notes and half-steps
an unfinished melody
and yet
i can't help but wonder
what part of you is left when i am through
because his face only slightly resembles yours
and i feel empty
without you near.

my darling, i can't pretend that this will last
or even that i want it to.
we have become lies
wrapped in flames and
the smoke
is fogging up your rose colored glasses.
ask no more of me.
there is no us to have faith in
and i have already given you too much.

this poem is for angela's smile,
infectious, with
dimpled cheeks
pushing eyes into twin squints
a lonely smile
twice orphaned by AIDS

this poem is for michael's hands
malnourished and misshapen
twisted by defect
into gnarled fists
gripping a legacy
of schizophrenia and addiction

for adrian
and his bruises
deep purples poking out from
threadbare sleeves
mottled greens and browns
remnants of blood vessels
like the spirit of the whipping boy

this poem is for sandra's notebook
wedged tightly between knees and chest
only semblance of sanity
under the staccato blinking
of a single bulb
in a locked bathroom stall
of a truckstop
where she was abandoned and forced
into womanhood

for tears
trekking familiar trails
down Samuel's face
seven tears
for seven fallen soldiers
who never saw war
beyond their own block

for daniel
and the shape of his body
remembered by the folds of his bed
his sanctuary left empty
when powdered vials became currency
in the modern-day slave trade

for chelsey
and her pink backpack
discarded on a darkened street
books and pencils
strewn alongside
a tuft of hair
bent glasses
broken nails trapping skin cells of a vulture
and a delicate white ribbon
afloat in murky sewer water

i could continue.

because this poem
is not for Darfur
not for Iraq
or the West Bank
or for starving children
in third world countries
this poem
is not for victims
of the sex trade or the tsunami
in south east Asia
or for babies in Romanian orphanages
(no, their cries
warrant poems of their own)

but this
this is a selfish poem
for one group of children
in one neighborhood
at the heart of one city
in one state
that our president likes to call home

this is a poem
for problems swept under the rug
for the persistence of memory
when the innocence of childhood
hangs limply like forgotten clocks
on distorted trees
for streets without peacekeepers
or a humanitarian effort
for the hipocracy
of No Child Left Behind
for hunger pains
and absent, unfit parents
for addiction
and betrayal
no electricity
no money
no mercy
no voice

this poem is for angela
for michael and adrian
and chelsey
and though
their faces will never be seen
on CNN or the nightly news
these are their names
and this
is their poem

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