Fragment 31

— after Sappho

If I even believed in god you’d be like a goddess
to me so I tag along with you whenever I can
just to hear you talk on your cell phone and laugh.
     Your voice makes my heart

palpitate, especially when you let me put my arm
around your waist. I’m a freaking mess: I’m acting like
a moron and I get tongue-tied and my skin itches
     and breaks out; I zone out and 

can’t remember anything & sometimes I can’t
even hear anything but blood rushing in my ears.
I sweat too much and shake like a damn fool. Just
    look at me here all pale and

faded out like suburban lawns in August. When
I feel like this I know I seem completely nuts.
I feel like I could die any day now, any second,
    but somehow for you I keep going.

Your Poem on a Grain of Rice

the wherewithal to hide a
sense of wonder

     retribution (tributary) this admixture:
     colic coriander chelae cubic

for a dollar held in hand you
well you wipe the whole wide wing away

     my city, caught under, which
     (no, never mind that)

see the cacti lie down like lambs against
the retaining wall, the will

     not the one you bought
     but willing the sky

its nine times nine making
the neighbors’ voices cut and fade

     we allow more words and cursor
     this part just added for effect

get a sign left in the street
a book left on a porch step

     the rain even more of now
     is not the right time

you step aboard, worry that
how your own will away

     they have their pockets into my
     affairs, sordid (file that under

reaching down or out
labels) some dissection of weft

     the part of the poem where the lines get long
    as abstract concepts arise (the odor of yeast strong)

children lolling on daybed with books
to how many digits of pi

     a modal calculus to gel process
     or reassure us systems are go

(don’t kill me for) the darkness, trajectory
this hand beside my face

    a cold sense
    a dim department store dreamed of

if I am lost then that’s the way it has to be
(scattershot of tiny words, a parabola, a look,

     a warning shot across the bought
     book falling to the floor page folded its

boat listing
catalogue full of useful items without prices)

     (us waiting for the storm to reach out
     lightning like distant flash pictures in the cloud cover

rote) wait

     use this as long as
     quarry can keep the pace

up please leave my hand alone
shaky in the morning on the pillow

     unable to scribe the finest detail
     here, here, natural, held, or a skill long to hold and to