arequipa, peru

There is a church bell in town made out of the mortared skulls of everyone who ever had a migraine. At night I know where the sound comes from, how it was born and where in the body it reverberates. Every hour on the hour it tells me what I did and do wrong: You did not see that cloud or that fluttering lid as portents, you did not decipher the acrostics, you left the house, you live in the past, you left the house.

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ghosts in an early morning bus terminal
haunt colonial streets in the afternoon, in full color,
an afterlife in reverse.

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Last year I painted our door red in honor of Independence Day, in honor of homecoming. I am happy to be alive, you said, I am happy to be home. This is simple enough to conjure; kicking pinecones off the crooked path, how vivid the splatters on my shoes, how we opened the door.

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i can name all the members of jackass
– including the cameraman, lance bangs –
but i have trouble remembering the president of peru
after four pisco drinks for día de la independencia.

ask me everything i don’t know
about the country i spent a month in.

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I don’t know about solace, it’s deceptive. Sometimes it’s not what they advise: puppy, church, working appliances. I should be more broad-minded. I am not supposed to say should, I am supposed to say want. I want to buy the first sand-colored place I see and breathe fresh paint fumes where I cannot hear our conversations.

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easily admitting i’m ready to go home now.

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I am mean and I am suffering and I need more help than you but you are like the moon; you shed light on my insignificance from a great, wordless distance.

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i wonder over a bloody steak:

why i still like catholicism
why my tattoo heals differently than last time
what the view is from the new apartment
what life looks like after two years in morocco
why i’m really doing any of this.

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Before I went to work we were under the olive tree and you were doing what you called psych patient smoking and you said, I don’t want to be Satan but will you join me and we pulled up our shirts to rub bellies and yours was so much flatter but filled with garden bread anyway anyway up went our shirts, solar to solar plexus, and it was a comforting ritual we daily did and I said, Let’s do this for the rest of our lives. You said, You look lovely.

It’s hard to remember tender things tenderly.

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finale, final, fin
we pray with the elders for eternal salvation.

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Ultimately, the loss becomes immortal and hole is more familiar than tooth. The tongue worries the phantom root, the mind scans the heart’s chambers to verify its emptiness. There is the thing itself and then there is the predicament of its cavity.


credit: bough down by karen green

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