will you for me force the weak contractions
of a smile, pry apart the lips to tooth it how i like
when lips in toothing part your wrists
cuffed lightly to this bed, this head-
board aureola warped as
oak is known to do when damp.

linger in infrared
this photograph palpitates, cells
swollen with the waters of where you
once were.

head low. show
how sourgrass pricks your palate
the pucker of white pear, pitted teeth
against the crumple-down
of winter folds:
the canopy cleaved

the ash
the bleach

the year ends October, offal
and filigree, the feeling
of a stomach filled with sparrows
I saw you perched on wire
maybe, heard your footsteps fail
in shards of fine snow.

Three Our Fathers for this insect-caked ibis
i palmed the headless ruby in your garden, wondered
how it was that ants could force her feathers down.