07/23/17, 11:31am

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.

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