You make betrayal seem easy. So it was, you said once
and by way of demonstration,
lifted the lid of your pocket compass and waited
for the frictionless bearing to find its direction. But,
what to say about inertia tonight, when
the house is dark, there are fruit flies
in the sink and through the window, I am watching
the miles we biked through third world
countries, where bandits and a limited knowledge
of the language were props
in our drama: you, always on the verge of some conversion,
like a dog with its head flung out the window
on the freeway; me, always asking for directions,
shredding a red napkin on the Malecón in Puerto Vallarta.
One moment, I’m water from the deepest
oasis in your canteen; the next,
I’m warm champagne slurped through a straw somewhere
south of Palm Springs, where you are building
a trebuchet to smash a luxury car on prime-time air space,
because you wanted adventure,
and didn’t I give you suicide pacts and war games, rough sex
in airplanes, hummingbirds palpitating
in the trees? You said, is that all, darling?
These are the stories we invent when the North Star
turns out to be a Cold War satellite. So, tell me
this is rapture—the mind’s needle
swinging toward the next summit. Tell me, dear Sir,
because the compass needle is shot and it’s
Please send a body bag.
Sleepless tonight, I feel the magnet
behind my eyes, my mind tugging toward the pole of you.
Like the tongue that tests the metal bar
of a meat freezer, I am learning the taste of my own blood.