the way we slink on the margins
the way our jailbroken eyes acclimate to dirt not sky,
moving no one.

who knew baby hands could shake so hard.
who knew who knew who knew.

none of us remembers when the world went dark
only how easily the mouth is fed by sick & dirty light.

each liquid sunup like a rope tug on the jugular, heartbeat
like thump. thump. and THUMP THUMP THUMP

always resuscitating
ambling, waxy mannequins
with all the wrong measurements


a postmortem will reveal that shame was our causa mortis
but they will put nothing of the sort on our tombstones
no mention of the way we saw nooses in wedding ties
and took people for punching bags (for blows directed toward self
tend to rebound in a hurry).
shame made malfunctioning stoplights of our eyelids, ones which
always sent mixed signals (green, somehow, was a foreign forest
and red a flashing agony which robbed us of our sleep).
the truth is that we had masks beneath the bright red lipstick and
made up face—beneath, even, the naked skin—
the truth is that maybe we weren’t wrestling demons but angels,
and we were the demons, and our red bloodied hearts
the only proof of our humanity.