Afterbirth (fiction)

Today’s horoscope told me it’s okay to lie.
It’s not that I need permission but I need something. (Apparently
this is self-sabotage. Or, at least, the reek of desperation.)

Last night the way the hallway backlit her bedhead turned me—
I don’t want to hurt you, really, but I don’t care if I do. 
(If you think you’re using me it won’t be that bad.) 

Sometimes God speaks to me through the Telehealth waiting room 
and the electric hum of computer silence is hymnal. Sometimes 
God speaks to me through the Telehealth waiting room
the message is swallowed with one-hundred silver bullets. I may’ve stolen 
the blueprint for my inner world but now it’s as mine as anyone’s: 
              desert oasis, never enough money, every permutation of man. 
And all sound delivered through an unplugged box TV 
while someone who is not me (honorific) watches 
the longest baseball game of all time.

(Someone who is not me is: a fire 
escape; the last yellow raincoat in Moscow; 
a pocket watch that fits so well in the mouth 
it settles into the palate—diagnostically speaking, 
a torus palatinus: still too much but at least hidden.)

I am learning how wrong I am about everything 
and this is not how I wanted my year to start. 
It was only last month I finished taxonomizing 
the past year’s guilt so it looked like I’d some to show. 
(I’d gotten work-high in the spreadsheets and thought 
I must be getting better.)

Tucked away in grooves (first, of your arms; then, of your chest), tonight 
I will sleep to be rutted the same. I do my best work before bird-dawn. 

My sex is goal-oriented but the best sex is a bad sentence: bleating 
and in need of a tourniquet. Naked, before a range of immutables can interrupt. 

The bouquet vending machine replaces your phonetics. We recite sound, 
slaughter—my shirt smells like it, like blood.

I try to sound what out through cryptic fingerings on an invisible clarinet. 
You misread the notes. It’s natural to do so. 

Tell me something. 

I’m an excavator of meaning even in the smallest sample. 

Stop.                   I’ve no frame of reference for abundance. 

I’m so something, it’s impossible. (Or, at least, the reek of desperation.)