Last Love Poem Masquerading as a Stray

I know another hungry mouth followed you home last night.
How could you help it? Your body
           an open alley, then the old familiar yarn
you unravel oh-so-well. You were lost,
           illustrious. You were (shall I guess?) irresistible.
Because every hour is feral, let us pause
           before we list the evidence, and insist, instead,
on the excuses: frost, a hollow belly,
           the front gate neglected, bewitching.
When did your fondness first turn
           to weakness? Weakness to instinct?
In the morning, if I find my favorite shirt
           shredded, the porch steps a dust of prints,
don’t bury my trust under one more mystery.
           Those doors that hiss open, shut. A stray
hair plucked from your lapel. Between us
           bristle all the reasons why I’ve not ignored
the obvious. But if you must master
           the art of eight other lives, let your last one lie
here along this shelf of setting sun.
           Let its teeth braille the back of my neck.
Bruise my flank. Like each room
           in this house, sharpen your hostilities.
Let me bear the mark of everywhere you have roamed.

Michael Boccardo's poems have been published in Kestrel, The Southern Review, Weave, Border Crossing, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Best New Poets 2013, and elsewhere. He is a three-time Puschart nominee and a multiple recipient of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. Also, he serves as assistant editor for the poetry journal, Cave Wall. He resides in High Point, NC, with his partner and three tuxedo cats.