When you ask those who have not
heard it terse, or bubbling,
his voice is god honey and an absence
of sharp tools. Able amber
reflection of light, but honey cannot be
set on fire, or cut those it despises
And honey holds tight with no knives,
holds steady in its body that which would sink
like stones in a creek belly,
like a body in a body,
if not restricted.
To me, it is only pine needles. A bed
full of dry pricking. To me, his laugh
is an alarm springing from the gut
of a gurney.
On an operating table, the gore
of a dissection is inevitable. In the dim
lit esophagus of a family gathering space,
it is less noticeable. It is near cliff-jump
impossible to see sucked-in breath
manifest like a surgical mask.
To me, it is waking up mid-incision
to the caw of a spiked mouth
circling what will soon be dead.
What it wishes dead.
He makes pristine example of good manner,
a false cauterization enamored of play-talk.
Of telling the thing he injured
how much better it looks when it is well,
of how it’s shaking hands and bent-in
skull bother him so. Cover the wound
he helped to dig: it is the cruelest
inconvenience, he says, when it lives.
It will be dead soon and he wishes for
it to fear itself, still.
And if it lives, despite false breath
and outstretched hands bled in oil,
if it lives, he will prefer it stay inside.
He will prefer it be swallowed.
If you ask those who he has not
wished the suffocation of isolation on,
his broad-shouldered stride looks
nothing like a snake making its way
into an opened-up body. It looks nothing
like a jaw unhinging around organs,
nothing like “something’s wrong” from the
mouth of someone surrounded by
no danger, in particular.
No danger but a voice, and to those who
hear it the same way: a pin,
needled into your ears like
volcanic untethering begun.