You were hammering the wooden pallets
when I came over that April afternoon. It was the kind
of spring day shown in magazines—
all sun and breeze and you. And I
was sitting on the steps leading up to your apartment,
eating a breakfast sandwich from Dunkins,
then complaining about calories, but really
I was watching you whack and break,
tattoo pulsing on your bicep with each strike,
watched you throw the shattered
planks into a pile for the city dump.
You called this spring cleaning and I called it
falling in love. It was something between
destruction and forever, between fucking
and making. Before, I didn’t know it could be this way, didn’t see
the bee near the paper bag by my feet, striped yellow and black
just hovering above the pink and orange logo, almost
didn’t hear its ominous buzz, almost
didn’t stand to climb the flight of stairs
to the safety of your living room. But that’s when
I felt it, each step echoing the hit of the hammer, my blood
matching the beat, the killing of the bee.
Afterward I remember saying words like
hero and saved me, believing them to be true.
But now all I can think about is how easy it was to die—
just be somewhere I’m not wanted. I tried
to take this as a lesson, understanding
the hammer is useless without the arm, the hand that holds it.
Or that this was just the beginning, middle,
and end of something. Perhaps
I’ve always held the hammer. Perhaps
I’ve always been the bee.
Here’s the Thing
about putting my mouth on dicks—
the taste stays. I taste the dick
in everything: sautéed mushrooms, the stale
saltines, the milk at the bottom of the bowl.
I taste the dick in the envelope I lick, the letter I send
to a pen pal in Chicago. It’s the taste
of the morning after sleep, of a thirst
never quite quenched. And I’m told I should crave it,
like all the naked ladies kneeling at his feet
in hopes of a little blessing their way. Here’s the thing
about putting my mouth on dicks, I remember
other tastes, like the woman from Germany
whose breath is the flavor of lilacs, kissing
in the parking lot of a town who burned witches at the stake,
and here we are, making a sort of magic
I’ve yet to understand, bodies
up against a green Honda, my hands
reaching for a face painted like my own,
and it’s the most beautiful thing.