Basically eight states six years
five Christmases
four sets of sheets
two tattoos and one blue ring
add up to zero.

This is how I explain things to the bartender
with a voice like wet marble
who's asked if I've ever had grappa
and to my mother
on the phone in the rain
who asks if I've begun
to fetishize the pain.

If there are eleven street lights
and six trash cans
between Jane Street
and our old apartment on Charles
and the word zero is derived from the Arabic
sifr meaning "empty"—
is this a reason or a product?
A product in the same way as rage
glass Prozac pink bruises
certain gods and honey.

The constant beating of the bee's wings
evaporates the water
allowing the nectar to thicken to honey.
Things evaporated under the pressure
of his beating:
lobster heads on white linen
wine legs in the ceramic bowl
space between thighs throat skin
until all that was left was red.

The longest slowest summer
discernible to the human eye
and sudden I
breaking apart
the innumerable ways—