The boulders on the shore turn their backs to me.
Stonefaces I can’t read. Flat noses with flareless nostrils.
Bald mean girls — a higher order of bully.
Blank stares look toward the coots trolling the olive-brown bay water.
Bright-green mossy jeans hang low around fat middles, as if they have room to talk.
And nothing to learn from the dry tide to come.
I watch your fat grease-pencil finger
trace circles and lines across my open palm
in the late summer of our there-it-went.
I was just looking for a kind word when instead I found a congenital hole in your aubergine heart. It was big and irregularly shaped. I tried sewing it closed with nonsurgical needle and thread because it was all I had, but I made a bloody mess. There was no fixing this. 1.20
You cheat away the lonely by heading south along the coast with the dog that cries. He’s also the dog that reads you like a bag of bacon.
And it’s how you can be happy for six days and life suddenly takes on the color of amber, smelling vaguely of cedar and vanilla, or of the heady $75 Le Labo shower gel you find in the bathhouse of your airbnb.
None of this is real. Your everyday world has the whiff of bananas and basement cement. It’s where the lonely resides. You take it into the fine sailcloth of your lungs and exhale through your mouth. It moves you gradually along. Lonely is the air you breathe. 8.19
I’m looking at three nostrils in the Korcula limestone and feel the hot Adriatic dragon’s breath on my cheek. It burns like balsamic but chills to the marrow of me.
I consider riding the dragon out to sea, but only after I eat the cheese, bread, and figs the waiter has placed too carefully before me.
Only after I taste the Croate grk grape.
Only after I pick black olives and fish for squid with the old couple down the road.
Only after I cycle the length of the island and kiss a beautiful man.
Only after I fidget, fumble, and forget.
Only then will I grab a scaly wing and let him know I’m ready to go,
I’m ready to sing.
The Mojave-Colorado desert’s dry rasp is a godless goading,
the cracked cry of the Valley of Wonder.
It brushes against thigh, hip, and instep,
thin-lip kissing toes, elbows, nipples, and nose,
combing through hair,
insinuating itself—a hot habit—alongside the unseen.
This desert bedroom is like any other four-square with a mattress, yet he is sore afraid, tightly wound like a pocketed free-tailed bat about to wing. These whitewashed walls
close in on him as they encircle and embrace me. The dry rising sun winks and sings to us both through the cheap cotton curtains, casting rectangular bleached light on the particleboard door.
He is not a dog but a mouse, unsure of all that is, while the most certain sound I know enters our ears, the how-who of a mourning dove, pleading for a day, any day, as she surveys the flat expanse of wheat-colored sand that runs fast toward the sleepy Sheep Hole Mountains.