Taught Not to Fly
Overnight, salt seeped into the Astroturf—
its green stitched hairs the same kelly green
spokes of Christmas trees in dioramas,
Mother Mary railroad sets.
Inside the family seashore squat,
you flexed your fissured tongue at the night,
ate salt. And with the ocean roaring in,
Barked. Julie hung off the doorknob
with all the promise of sleepwalking.
You edged the armchair against the door.
Played the seven-band radio, from which
French sounds made tinny gestures
towards my body, prone on the pullout
wondering if France was as good as Mars,
if I could sleep through the morning scuffle
of Julie and my mother gearing up
to bike on across the boards, talk all the way
until Resorts, stopping only to reverse
against the wind. In the pillage,
there were Corn Flakes, margarine, papers
turning yellow in the quickening sun,
the heat of the sun in the thickening room.
And later, I’d run back from the kidney pool,
its soggy turf squashed around my toes,
like my father’s hands around my hands
on the handles, touch, go, into the gray moat
of Cambridge Circle, its harbored homes.
I swam like a dolphin around you—
a dolphin in a black bikini,
white cadaver limbs.
In the whirlpool, I was two
hands that lost their hue in water.
Swimming on you—
not swimming, immersing then
the guttural shift of mass moving
water, then droplets
tinkling. By the lake
a WaveRunner is tethered
to the dock. We could make
dotted lines across the body,
bend the daytime’s still stiffness
with deliberate action.
Mosquitoes are cloaked
in humidity, their little wings are
prop planes in weather.
They struggle, hover,
drop onto the water’s surface.
We could dry off
or never get in at all.
We could never meet.
In fact, we never did.
I moved in for moments,
a rare hawk in the midst
of office buildings,
one confounded bird
in the office park
eying a sparrow,
still and gracious,
eating a sparrow,
Undo the wooden latch
and you will find a condom wrapper
in the can. On the toilet, I am
an unearthed rabbit. My knees touch,
the tops of my hands are underneath
my thighs. I am twisted, peeing.
The halogen lantern lights buzz
through the paneling. It’s an outhouse.
It’s not. It is an extra bath
built as an afterthought alongside
a porch remade into a living room.
This house has moved through
I leave. My underwear is wet.
In the glass wall against the lawn
My ass is ensconced in a red trapeze.
I’m not wearing a top.
The couch is where your family leaves
sesame, salt, its crumbs.
I sit beside you, mind the roughage
with no concern for your parents upstairs,
or your dog who comes and goes
through the swinging door. I fall asleep,
naked, and in that phase, dry.