Game Theory

There are these silences and then
the words in the middle, suffocating
out of love. That is to say, the love inside them
suffocates. Asphyxiated with a veneer of something
closer to common civility. But love bruises
so delicately. Like an apple in late November,
rotten fruit that will not reveal its ankles. Never
lay all your cards on the table. Everybody knows that,
even the gazelle who outruns the leopard only to fall
into the lion’s open maw. But I’m patient. I can wait
it out, live a little while the skies darken and the
moon comes into being, a curve just the sly arch
of Mona Lisa’s smile. I can bide my time while
the sun grows cold. After all, nobody said it
would be easy. In my dream, an apple made of blood.
Show me the blood in your mouth and I’ll show you – 
no. Your move.


My mother preferred alstroemeria to lily.
When I would ask her to buy lilies she would return,
a bag of groceries in one arm, alstroemerias in
the other. She did not understand what I had
against alstroemeria. She would put them in a vase
on my dresser. Week after week, I watched them die.
They died quickly, curling up at the edges, crackling
like crêpe paper. They were weak and they were
not lilies. When my mother died there were no flowers,
only ashes. That day I went to the market and bought
alstroemerias, armfuls of them. I planted them
about the house.

Light stipples the water sea-glass green.
A thousand diamonds coruscate into existence
at the sun’s slight beckoning. I cannot compete,
for I have no diamonds to give you, only
the raw silk of a peach-colored saree, only
the string of pearls you have hung about
your neck, only the promise of this day, this
moment: golden, warmed by the blissful haze
of new matrimony. You are only twenty-two,
sitting on the opposite end of our dory, rowing
and smiling.

On the banks of the river
willows sway lightly with the wind,
and above them rises a hill of trees (deep,
forest green) and apartment complexes
(toothpaste green), their windows peeping
black and shadowless into our riverscape
while inside, grandfathers take their mid-
afternoon naps, and aunties sit around
kitchen tables, talking in hushed voices,
and – perhaps – 
someone looks out,
watching us, the honeymooners,
wondering at our hands

sext 1:47 am

every delicate bone of ur body is a tulip in april
full w/ velvet colors n rich burning smells
heady & perfumey & quite lovely

do u love me?? (i ask only out of curiosity
          (i parenthesize my (innermost) thoughts))
i can see ur heart opening n closing
          it’s a tulip/jellyfish/fist (burning, i think)

i’ll be the moon & u can be the sun (so i said)
i’ll wane & i’ll wax 4 u (so i say)
one of these days babe im gonna eclipse u

I evade the orbit

I evade the orbit and draw downwards towards dawn. I hold a flower, which I shall now proceed to offer to my invisible lover. The hot air cloys. My feet skim the surface of needless water. The wind stills in my ears. Everything hisses to a burgeoning stop. You firestarter. You sad, wild thing. You gave me moonshivers and lightningcrackles. Put buzzwords into my mouth. Words that hummed and sang like locusts. You placed me amongst the crocuses. I gaped; I gaped. Gasped for air like a child stuck in a hot car, mother browsing the aisles, the parking lot full of cars roaming like lost, hungry beasts. Strangers milling about everywhere. Your fingers like anthills on my second skin. You defy me in the same way I once tried to defy gravity. Where I touch you, you vanish. You absolve ghosthood in your glassgleaming eyes. I seek you like an open palm. The lines etched in six feet deep. I go against your grain. Dig in. Flesh out. Your burning – the stench of polluted fish. Your salt marshes hide innumerable dunes of memory. You speak my body’s vernacular. The heated jargon of something more than this. Your broken syntax pounds the battered doors of my ears.

Again we rearrange words & think we love somehow more cleverly than once we did.