Pterygoid Walk

On the bottle floor
My glare: distorted coil on the glass gutter
Jaw clenched, sore,
I reach for another.

I finish the seventh and
Cannot see through the rim,
So I reach for another
And hope it’s wider.

Cherubs harmonize with the ——nth bottle
Then pause.
I reach for another;
I dread interludes.

I reach for another and wonder
If I could obliterate sooner
If I widen my mouth,
Release my jaw,
Engulf the bottle and swallow it all.

Or would my grinding teeth
Submit to habit,
Shatter it,
And bleed down my throat, sundered
Where venom strangles acid,
Interluding,
Until the next time I

Reach for another?

Clockwise

 Of all the lights
Ticking in the abyssal sky,
A bold one brighter,
Counterclockwise,
Thumps my chest.

We chat for awhile
By moondripped puddles,
Streetlight on dim,
Autumnal maples
Unhinged in November wind.

Then she’s passing by—
A comet, more like—
And may soon be gone,
But I thank the night
And the ground I’m on
That I stood under starlight
At the perfect time.

Artwork: “Comet,” Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, 1506

Purged

Alone, half-dead on our bench,
I wonder what keeps you here.

Is it the unsilent death
of your sighs at puppies,
stumbles in my armpit,
arms tickled, goosebumped,
Hair in perfect form, tumbling my shoulder while
We laugh at cartoons?

Or maybe it’s me,
trapped here,
waiting
where endless love writhes inverted, devolved,
where cold light shines backward
and sorrow screams
nonsense directions.

What?

Who goes there?

Fumigate

I detoured to my apartment tonight,
Now big red tents,
Black patches, green compartments,
Spotlights humming.

Maybe yearning drew me
To the place I once barricaded,
Glued to my bed,
Eyes on the boarded window,
Like outside was bombing.

Only three men
In baggy, yellow suits,
Prepped for war,
Could send me skittering.

And there I was,
Newly enlightened,
Waiting to return.

Sam

I think she smiles shamelessly,
Tongue dangling over bright grass
And old stumps.

She reaches her prized ball,
Gathers it in her jaws,
And turns to find me
Back where her journey began.

I fake a smile, masking my guilt:
Eons of breeding— the
Ancestral science of
Commodification in her Deoxyribo-
Nucleic Acid. The gap between
Her and the natural wild.
The world that didn’t love her kind
As predators. I can’t help
Anxiety over her ball-retriever condition
As something I enjoy but do not comprehend the circumstances of…

She arrives,
Drops the ball,
And looks up.