by Mike Saye
Stuff your shirt under the door
so not even a tinsel of light
Turn the water up, hot,
because you’ll be here, because you’ll need something
to parcel out the cold.
Here, where you’re pressed into
the heaviest breath of the heaviest memory, which barely displaces the water,
and your heartbeat, amped by submersion,
is just someone kicking a bag
and suddenly there’s 1984 or 85 with its indefinite molestation
and Jessie and the unborn,
and a dream-pigeon hanging by a bootlace
in the doorway of a shed –
the iris-necked, sun-busted disturbance
that means nothing, but must be passed through –
and the doglines, where the bad dogs chewed lippy flowers
from their pups…
This hard water, redolent of red clay,
a ground-smell that wafted up from the floor joists
of a home you no longer belong to,
has wrapped its penny-in-the-mouth
taste around your head like gauze.
This blind air
pours over your forehead, fills the cavities
of your eyes with inked-out wings.
bathe – as you must – with all the things you’ve lost.
meditate the tick of the black mirror
that’s cracking against the silence,
the animal quiet, listening for your whistle,
will come with a call, will break right through.
Mike Saye is a Ph.D student at Georgia State University. His work has been published in Rattle, Town Creek Poetry, and The Coal Hill Review, among other places.