A streetlamp scorching the cloth of night,
a barbed acanthus on a wrought-iron fence,
he was a platter of lemons and salted wounds.
He could not tend. He seeded soft ground, then choked
whatever grew with his boarding-school tie.
I walked lightly when I took his path, my steps
restrained to sweeten their timbre. I made my flesh
a still-life of wax and air, buffed bloodless.
Five years, I heard the starlings flock near dusk,
breathed patchouli to restore the backbone
snapped in my fall. The pigment of depression
stained me—when the temblors finally stopped, the waves
washed blue. I bandaged my festering wounds
in lean light. The chorus swelled, a hubris, sung.