A river of blood runs under the bridge of the rib cage
and I have come home with a cracked tooth
the pain like a soft flickering of lightning.
See the new moon hung in frost broken limbs of our maple tree.
I want to lay my face against the moon, calling, “Carol, Carol…”
a light coming on gradually inside this leather box
I call myself.
I am a working man behind on his payments.
Loans taken out in another life eat my liver like a crow.
I can’t afford these words I am saying.
Can’t afford the assurance of men who walk in straight lines
or of those who follow their own desires
toward unimagined pleasure or pain.
You tell me the way to heal is
first find the wound.
Go to it tenderly as you would a woman.
Stay with her, giving only what you are to what you are.
Nothing stays the same, you say.
Even pain will finally move toward itself.
When self meets self, there is an end
But I say, let the good God of children draw his sword across my throat!
Let all words bleed away.
I hold up empty hands asking you to make them