Shame Psalm


Maybe mandolin means knife
because of how I feel when I hear “East Virginia Blues.”
Maybe fear is someone I keep fucking
because they don’t care how I like it.
Maybe clementine instead of orange.
Maybe a bruise but I don’t know how it got there.
Maybe I do not always know what there
means. Maybe I am talking about family.
Maybe I am talking about blame.
Maybe there is no blame. That’s
what I am afraid of.


What if I showed up at your house at sundown
because it is getting darker faster again?
What if we just kept driving? What if I fell asleep
at the wheel, in your bed, with a cigarette burning,
on the phone with you on the other end, breathing?
What if I never called you until I did?
What if I forget? What if I got arrested,
got an abortion, got real quiet


I will stay up all night in the
garden. I will tell you everything I can
remember: every cheeked pill for a friend, the kind
of morning that itches, willow tree in the backyard we
had to cut down. I will bring this to the altar. I can
promise you this: I will swallow a rosary of
pomegranate seeds, I will come back evergreen
in spring and hand you fire for winter, only tell me
you forgive me. Tell me go in peace, tell me
come back wild. Tell me you love me.
Tell me amen.