Gum-stuck in a peach stall on a Friday night, I am fading like furniture upholstery in sunlight. Anyone in the bar may have the microphone, the band will play the singer any song in any key. The same eight people I see around town talk at the sinks, adjust their tattoo-print dresses. Cardinal-red lipstick talks out from the mirror. You are what you eat between hearted initials and phone numbers. On the sidewalk, a cardinal like it fell from the sky untouched. You hear these stories. Someone falls over unexpectedly. Someone disappears. Police stretch yellow tape. Scan for needles and bullets, shoeprints sculpting mud. When I put my ear to the pink tile, a web of dirty grout, each shoe sounds like raw smoke.
The campfire cracks and spits early morning. A car circles the lot. Our dreams slow and stall. Someone feels my pulse, observes my tongue, taps hair-thin needles in my skin. The best-case scenario is to get heavy as wet laundry. An always-forgetting-something feeling engulfs me, skips the rhythm my veins make like the scratch-off ticket who reveals itself to be a loser. The scruffed-cat-slouched feel of the word shame. Or walking into a party feeling like a snake that fell limp from the sky, writhing as I fall, trying hard to keep my coils wound, my wits around me like a rattle, a warning. The shoulder curved like split shells. Look, a landscape we could strike. Look, an angle of permanent golden hour whose red softness blurs an animal stretched without breath along beach sand.