after Rebecca Hazelton

Nor humid winter’s backyard, amber-rimmed sky that bled
its fanatical orchards without complaint. Terrible things have happened
         to better people on worse patches of grass. My 24th year I was

         the prettiest abyss. Long chocolate ribbons of hair
         beautiful & foolish in ways hard to forgive. The heart is truly
an embarrassing creature—not to claim anything was rotting
         in mine, only that it stank periodically,
         as if mulling over its options. Whatever came first, the larvae or

eggwhites hurled over the toilet bowl before work.
         No perimeter of barbed wire to take note of, no
                       guards of the heart patrolling silence or hooligans
skateboarding through the night to jump its gate
         in the shroud of cooler weather, oblivious

to desire’s opulent chokehold. There were no dogs
lapping the edges of its refusal to soften, just expository barking
         heard through the fallopian tunnel of a conch shell. I promised
a God I spoke to only through bedlinens
I would not allow myself another drink
         til after New Years’, oh with all the lounging

                       that floral-printed sofa, suckling bottles of Jack I buried
in my landlady’s garden, blackmailed the deer, anxieties like mice
climbing the sun-blinds, pleaded apologies only to the ocean
         for how little of it I came down from the hill to touch
                       without some ampulla of blue-veined vinegar
         to sweeten me on living; a ransom to coax
                       me to the streets, the shoreline, the quiet colonies keening

for an execution’s stillness. I wouldn’t call this regret. I have slept
full-bellied on my own decrepit floorboards &
                                             woke hopeful, believing hope

is not the fray-feathered goose it presents itself, not
         the small-armed grieving beast
holed up beneath memory’s
                                    raspberry surface.

Undone by no beloved hands on sopped glasses. Nothing darling & beheaded.
Not a thing possessing any neck at all.