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Fruitcake and sludge love, a love-smudge, dried crust

crusting my nails. Few ghosts come back with pride,


with tales. On our last shift you were tied, trussed,

crotch-rope spreading your pudendal cleft wide


under your scrubs. Release, in all its forms:

from me, from work, that cum-sticky murk smell,


cirque-slush fog. I know how a nurse transforms

with bliss of rope kissing her, “pumpkin shell.”


Bad joke. “Peter, eat her.” Very well: last

kiss, last shift through your cottons. Moist as cake,


as fruit — as the mistake we want and yearn

for, crusts our nails. In the future our past


falls from us — Call this the sort of mistake

that leaves behind only ghost-tales, rope-burn.