Prayers to the Dangerous
Pretty girls go walking away to prayers.
What they pray for, C-shaped, is not so different:
homemade waffles, omelettes all filled with mushrooms.
But in the omelettes
one girl thinks of fire: in his hands, and eyelids
as they drooped, that halfway excruciation
coming from a moment without a name yet,
pressing and pressing.
Boy. You never told me about the burning
fires you'd leave inside, how an inside's burning
makes a blackness there, and the black is empty,
charred like a night's sky,
sky the sun has burnt and then left, with embers
there instead of stars, like the Elks club picnic
finished, charcoal stars as the only warm things
drunk men can talk to.
Danger boy, you could have remembered my skin.
I remember you, how I swallowed tender
words you had inside, on your tongue, all water.
Hands, how they touched me. . .
C-shaped on her pew, in that lean of children praying,
one girl only dreams of the ripest berries,
undersides of mushrooms, that color, pepper.
These are her prayers:
how, as food, she wishes for him, his touching.
That his fire leaves a black in her mouth, her eyes, her
fisted hands, means a place for his returning.
These are her prayers.
From Five Indiscretions (Sheep Meadow: New York,