Sprung from your forgotten dreams, it came
in the morning, followed you from crooked bed to quick
turn of the doorknob, the eyes turned to the cool
grain away from the soft groan of his consciousness.
It trickled and pooled against the pads of your toes,
weighted your skin to acquiescing gel
into well-worn grooves. It vaulted
up into your mouth and churned the foam
rancid; you spat it out with tenderness
of habit, just like when you bid him Good
Morning to unsure silence fading back
onto itself. You still share the soap. Will you still
splash your face in the hectic mornings
as he showers, separated by white
muddied curtain and tamed by familiarity?
A tickle breaks long through the mane
of your calf and you wonder how
a drop possibly made it past
your fingers, holding guard at your budding
crows feet. Perhaps it distracted you
with its curiosity, kept you howling into the night
with laughter such that you did not know
that you’d somehow joined the wild dogs.
How sly it must have been. How much crying is too much
for the end of era that began not in the year of the Ox
but in that of Sheep, which Travel China Guide
and not your mother must tell you: the curve
of the ram and the hard corners of the ox
were never meant to groove. Maybe you should have
checked the legend, first, instead of believing
you knew the way more than did the statisticians
that came before you, the old women
of science who flourish of circles
and not infinite lines stretching past stars
you’re worried no one else sees.
This isn’t how you want to be: mad
as predicted. Somehow they knew to give
you the codebook. Whose fault is this if they knew
you would tear it to shreds, trample it
with your wheels, light it with gas fire
from a shitty stove in a New York City apartment
only to find this: it has followed you into the gentle
illumination of a streetlight in an alley quiet enough
to be deafening though the cars are never too far.
What a blessing these slow moments are, you know
even as your body stings with the salt
on your bites. Nature gives needle and first aid.
You now know how to snip this particular type
of thread, the one that runs though one temple and out
the other, the last one. He will leave first,
as he does, and you will bike these streets
through and straight out. If all goes well,
you will return.