At first I wasn’t sure if I’d heard him
or the rude A/C. Water pipes
conspiring? Coiled pipes
of my own body creaking pink?
There was much to hear from the couch,
& by twelve I had learned not to trust
my senses. When I drank water
I tasted salt. When lights turned on
or off I tasted salt. When people spoke to me
intensity of salt taste defined their words.
Besides, I thought,
anything could sound like a breath.
Maybe the wind quickened me.
Maybe a fan upstairs. Maybe
a handful of maple samaras corkscrewing
down outside made me hard.
Any answer for What spoke?
that meant escaping the red word said.
—alone :: alone :: (queer) :: alone :: alone—
Again, in the dark, where I knew my bones
I heard the faintest rustling
like he’d turned over in his sheets
& a brine of bitter ocean flowers filled my throat.
I opaled in the sterile moonlight.
I looked out the window: A jury
of nightjars in his mother’s white rosebush
six of them, silver-brown, preening
themselves among the glowing blossoms.
I knew what I’d heard.
I still hear it sometimes
late Spring, before dawn
—the faintest rustling