Landscape with Alternate Endings
Let’s start at the beginning. I washed myself with wine & prayer
as heaven crouched with its ear pressed to the door. I dissolved
a dozen boys under my tongue. A dozen days of sudden warmth, of simple
mornings. My survival in the shape of his shoulderblade,
the wonky hair at the tail of his eyebrow. Let’s call the door a closet,
full of claustrophobic lullabies. Let’s say heaven is on the other side,
calling me by the first letter of my name. In the backyard, a garden
of unsaid words. Lord, where can I put it all down? Tragedy of seaside
& bedrooms. A bile of husbands rising in the throat. Baptize me
in a fog of forgetting. Leave me gentle & ruined, like a well-worn page
or a dead deer, preyed on, prayed over, hollow, & damned to rot.
Let’s call the ending a beginning. Treat it kindly. Wash it clean.
Invite it to dinner once a week & keep its wine glass topped off.
Call the girl my lover (read: my secret). Call the girl my heaven
(read: I thought I'd be able to reach you if I prayed hard enough).
Call the boy whose number you should have lost. Call the boy you lost.
Call him New Beginning. Say heaven with your eyes squeezed shut.
Treat the ending kindly. Invite glass to dinner, lovergirl. Pray hard enough,
your secrets still sting. Reach out again. This time I thought I could
wash myself clean. Call the beginning an ending. Drown it in the tub.
Open your gates, dear Lord, I have waited. Call the body a broken mirror,
an invitation. Scream loud enough, it starts to sound like singing.
In the beginning, body, why have you forsaken me?
I called the girl my lover, & I’ve been falling ever since.