My Midnight Confession

Amidst ruins of the republic,
thousands of gods,
shaped like butterflies,
or salamanders,
or resembling men—
glamourous, athletic,
tatooed luminaries—
watch twilight fade to
pharmeceutical blue.
Love’s a force field,
like alcohol,
a murky preservative.
Sex’s a sweaty wrestling match
prior to the final nighty-night.
History’s a basement stocked
with weird stunted beings
afloat in rows
of thumbmarked jars,
creatures who long to whisper
or sing from within
their formaldehyde nap,
to trill a hibernation
rant, a somnombulists
anthem, but can’t.
The compassionate
landscape can only
look on, greenly,
sending tendrils
between sash and sill of those basement windows,
trying to touch the smeared
jars or their inhabitants,
begrudging them nothing.

Amy Gerstler’s most recent books of poetry include Dearest Creature, Ghost Girl, and Medicine. She teaches in the MFA creative writing program at the University of California at Irvine.