UNKILLABLEYou came to me
unable to breathe
So many heads
I took off
The last one
the clown mask
The one baked
onto a box
Clammy, gray plastic
to your face
It had to be peeled, snapped
Sweaty, tan, crying
Your hair shorter
than I’ve ever seen it
Aura of teen
in winter clothes
Earlier I had watched you
get beat up
You were performing
The sign for which
was a painted trail
from your nostril
The room simply boomed
with your charm
a heart swung
grilled by their ribs
Eventually, the bruiser ran
Now there is no
aggressor, only cancer
We sleep in twin
as our second marriage
The one in which
we will die
HER FUNERALYou went there, by air, to a series of rooms.
There, in the lap of the arbitrary, you said goodbye.
I picked up your body
when you came home.
I want to tell you about these three years.
I want to tell myself.
The 8-ball rotating its messages in blue juice, coming up with a foul.
A thickening in the X-ray, some gristle in the lips.
You know the limits of the skin job.
What rough crayon you hold in your paw.
Sometimes you radiate heat, but your mouth stays cool.
That’s when I know you are an animal. I know you are an animal a lot.
The way you impress me hurts.
I keep waiting for it to be mine.
Don’t want to write about my jealousy.
Want to treat it like this storm, behold its purple burden.
I would wait for you in the room with striped paper, forever.
You make me laugh, you and your Judy Grahn.
Vow to begin again, without being hard.
I lie on the table, butt propped up.
Invite you to make a fort of the caul.
After three years of no poems, I feel better
just knowing I have these flowers to give.
Turns out your mother kept a gratitude journal
that somehow made it to us, from Detroit.
For a single day, I keep one in her honor.
I am grateful to you, Phyllis, for raising my love
My love, otherwise birthed
AYN RANDfor Lisa Duggan
Did you just say
our policies are based upon
a serial killer
who scooped out a girl’s internal organs
filled her torso with towels
and wired open her eyes?
Yes: that way her parents would pay
the ransom, thinking
she was still alive