The Dead End
Lushed into view, trees
in a clump of accusal. To test my apparatus
I asked traffic
policemen where to go next, and was asked
to wipe the sweat from my eyes.
The afternoon smeared
its extinction on my palm, but your voice
was a god of that season
resident in my skull’s earnest
shrine. A gentle one, and that old trick
of speaking wholly to whatever listens.
The chords a skein trapping my wrists and ankles.
I rewinded through a city unmapped
and unmade. I had to return
to a place that had not been birthed
in the honeycomb of your throat, I had
to walk away naked
from the tattoo that curfewed my suit of skin.
Like every other time, I couldn’t crawl
into your first verse
or your second,
your bridge or your chorus. In your falsetto
was my exile, a body orphaned into air. Little god,
I ventriloquised your consonants, was swept
along a stage not even the rain
I walked somewhere, I was walked there.
I was waiting on the middle eight.
I was waiting on your breath
that had travelled so far to charge me.
I was waiting for the song you couldn’t possibly know.