Vigilance is the Price of Mercy

I’ve moved out of my apartment and into the tangled nest
of panic and submission behind a horse’s eyes.
Is this what you want? I could do something more
like a version of the Shield of Achilles,
in which the shield is brought up to date
in the form of a neck tattoo of a swan
eating another swan.

Every human body is a haunted house.
Do you ever smoke a lot not just because it will kill you
a little every time,
but because cigarettes are a different kind of sundial
than even that, and force you to rehearse a trip outside
in which you will not come back?
I cherish walls, not fences you can reach your arm through.
For example, the great thing about a bonfire
is that anything that isn’t light is completely black. You can trust that
not to hide itself in crevices and leak
into another room, not to linger in remission
like the smell in curtains you can’t quite clean.

I’m BCCing you so you think
this message is going to everybody,
but it’s not. There is a secret elect.
There is a silent broadcast into the brains
of the captains of humanity, the shepherds
who harvest the sheep, even when they are sleeping.
But here there is only me, emailing me,
worrying what you will think when you read it.