1. The Union Negotiator
I have a deal for you:
tonight when I sleep I’ll think of you.
Of red rocks, of bull pens and spurs,
Kansas Turnpike, of Missouri,
how you’ll meet me there,
a continental divide, the places where two ends meet.
My legs will make a circle around you, your waist;
my lips will have secrets to slip over yours like a paper bag.
2. The Cartographer
I am land-locked. I am Paraguay at sunset, something swallowing
the sun beyond banana trees. I heard it once drop like a bomb
into clay; no one made a sound while the echo had its way
with ears across a jungle. I am land-locked here.
There are roads out in all directions; veins, but no seaways.
I will find you in water,
I will be the way you breathe.
3. The Neurologist
How you connect these gaps between cities:
electrical charges, phone lines. I am with you in an instant
and back again, the other side of a world, a coin.
A pulse felt in fingers; you are alive, burrowed beneath folds
of flesh. The way flesh folds you inside,
the way the brain cuts corners at all costs.
4. The Performance Artist
A cup of tea
on a saucer
on the west edge of a round table.
You are the tea,
I am sipping you, I might be
5. The Tailor
I wrapped parts of you around me for warmth
and it worked: your arm as a stole, the barrel of your chest
a place for my lips to hide, your legs as leather belt.
I drew chalk doodles on the bedsheets, you said, What for?
I said, I will stitch a knock-off from your sweat.
6. The Demolitionist
There is a moment between plunge and blast, where I live,
these seconds. Where there is perfect and quiet calm,
an exhale and a resignation, I will crumble.
This wreckage is a series of broken bricks;
remember what it was, that moment:
the world pressing in. I am a window on the fourteenth floor,
I see where the city ends, the roads failing into dust.
7. The Palm Reader
Your hand sliding down my back knows omens
when it sees them. The patterns change, but all these lines
were once people the way you and I were once people.
This compass its own rose, all directions lead back to the center,
back to your cheek, your earlobe. This palm
knows your face, where it belongs: resting there.