Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I know of rooms where men can never dream.
Shuffling through mildewed corridors, stoned,
I let craving embalm me like a coroner.
And nothing surfaced in the ether of my sleep:

I rose without an image of my own.
But my bloodshot eyes made in darkness
seven ghosts: first was you—an emanation
of the lighter’s glow—a breath of condensation,

nothing I could hold. Your lips glowed
with the yellow of late bruise. I was the second
ghost, transfixed by the drone of wasps at nest
beneath this roof. The third, the fourth

are residues I scraped from bubble pipes,
confused how smoke’s soft rope could tether you,
your throat to paradise. You scorched the glass
with the blue flame of a torch, inhaled, inhaled,

inhaled. Fifth was a syringe: its milliliter lines,
like ladder rungs descending to the cellar
of your elbow, disappeared. Persistent as the gears
that spin a clock’s second hand, sixth

was just a hacking cough alive inside each scrap
of aluminum foil, burnt black and buried in the trash.
Last was a mirror, something smooth enough to show
a rawboned jaw, the purple glimmer of veins

collapsed just below your knuckles.
You knelt. You asked yourself a question:
was it you or your reflection
further now from heaven?  

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