Since I was thirteen, I have wondered who I am.
I’d look in the bathroom mirror, stare at that
homely handsome face—was I nice?
was I evil?—then squeeze the sebum out of my
pores, slow thick cold sebum.
Under my skin, female flesh
now lay in packs, hip-flasks of fat.
Out of my mouth came a soil-like smell.
Maybe I was actually dead,
maybe I was my father on the couch passed
out risen up and walking.
When I would touch a boy, I would feel like an archangel
crushed to another archangel,
between the curve of the dash and the hard
orbit of the seat, wings fiercely shut, we would fly.
I would look in the mirror afterwards, my
eyes shining. And when the head
appeared, and the child went one way
and my body another, it wasn’t good or
evil, it was just the animal,
for real. I sang when I tended the children,
day and night went back inside
the universe of the marriage bed, I felt
virtuous, stuffed to the spirit-tips with touch.
And then the children grew up, I was weaned from that
constant tending. I am nothing without
a body in my arms, I am a craving spirit,
the way the dead stream along the walls of
houses and affix themselves to the glowing windows.
This morning—the rain not dropping yet but
fizzing, gently boiling in the air—
I felt some word might be in, soon,
on who I am. And what if I am not loving?
What if all that buttoning and un-
buttoning and suckling and sucking were
the hunger of the dead. Sure I would die for them,
gladly give even my sight, my
hair to fire to save them, but isn’t that
easy for the dead, haven’t I always really
longed to give an arm for them, to
see the severed arms exchanged on the table.
Sex so obvious, the cunt wanting to
swallow, swallow, fiercely sing all
day all night bright come and his pleasure just
exciting, the great lover just an evil
fucker feeding on his pleasure, as if I
could not make
love, when none
had made me. Her milk craved to give me
to get her nipple sucked, and the grave
man was finally only barely
able to stay in the suction path
of my beaming. Maybe some judge’s word
is in. Maybe when I entered the spoon
into the mouth, then lifted the handle as I
pulled, so the sphere of manna stayed in,
I was taking, maybe when I stroke his ass,
sated, press my face into the
cool nippleless breast of his buttock, I am
taking. The pubic hair on this sheet, in the
path of the lamp this morning, rears up,
its shadow’s tip clipped to either
end, its twin running in place
an illusory river—in torque, arched,
reddish, the poor animal hair,
mated to its shadow, is a soul in hell,
a poet bent over the paper. I lift my
head and look for you, to give you
this. But what if my giving is taking, if I
set the lips of this poem to your breast.
But what if you like that? If we’re all takers,
craving that gaze. So I set the mouth
of my iris to the mouth of your iris here
for this soul kiss.