Not man enough to hold a man like a child
until the morning, I would fight the ache
in arms not built for labor if hard-pressed
by you, near ghost with head upheld by want
and pain-killers, the kind I used to hide
along with the knives. I lied about not minding
blood, and once I called your mother
who said, "Handle it, love." Hung up.
I'll hold you wrong if you must rest in me.
What prize I've won. What ilk. For hooking necks
of bottles with rings—plastic, dirty, bent.
Carnivals stroke the young and the lived-in
couched in country witched with miscarriage.
Doorsteps become you. Silence. Bruises. Fear
I'll let you linger, pathway-bound and blue
like stillborns. These become you.