After the poetry reading

I took myself to the threadbare
to the empty church
to the ridge of starvation
to the disgust of strawberries even
for succulent was speech there

and I took myself to the rural highland
to the caverns and night owls
to the black faced cowl
to the silence that spooks
the spooker’s own hand

and I took myself to the song
parched in the strained neck
to the bovine cattle
the barbed up grotto
to the hungering moo and
reeking mire

and I took myself to the music box
muttering hows and whos
to a terrain quaint enough for two
swatting fleas from my spine
waiting there, to be
sold like a mule

and I discovered there by the lake’s glow
to the witness of hawk and squirrel
that I did not want to swim
that I would not dive in
for the lake I knew
would swallow me whole

and I discovered that
I’d take the desert road
with the rattlers and buried bones
the promise of trail seducing my lone
the horizon my bedmate
supple, curved and serpent-tongued

and I affirmed that love exists anyway
that I can go on—live!
while pity sinks like a headstone
to my belly floor

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