This is a prayer. Our kiss hang in the air —
like clocks, it stops. Tickless. I have no more
ticks left to give. “By the curly shorthair,”
the kids say, “odds bodkins.” I still deplore
just how helpless I’ve become. It was not
love since I stood up and lovers lay down.
It was not sundown since I get distraught
at dusk and this was bright. Blood had caked brown
around my nostrils. Bruises filled the crook
of my arm. That cough. Easy as despair.
Easy as soap. “There are stains that baffle
soap.” That’s some crap soap, bub. Be suds that shook
the stain in the cat’s pajamas — this prayer:
it starts as a kiss, it ends as a yowl.