a sliver of world to play with
because there are germs outside
this apartment trying to get in, wearing
minuscule crowns like royalty. I’m afraid
of them too, afraid to answer the door,
that they’ll soar their way in, unannounced,
and attach themselves to me. I do not want
to kill my lover with my own hands.
I keep them busy on a replica of Ed Hopper’s
Automat, sifting for portions of the woman’s
face, to reassemble her, look into the curvatures
of her loneliness. I want to ask her how
she plans to winch her mind from the bottom
of her full cup of coffee (for future reference)
but she is lost among a hundred dark fragments
so I connect two more murky pieces together
and look for the almost unseen spaces
between the curves of both cuts. It’s difficult
to tell if they fit through the bleakness
and my attention traces back to the few pieces
with green and red. Is this what’s happening?
People out there trying to put a mysterious
black world together using a few sparse spots
of brightness? There is a video on the internet,
a doctor demonstrating how to clean up
your own groceries. He uses an analogy of sorts,
one with a bit of pizazz—he says you want to wash
your items as if trying to remove glitter from surfaces.
Imagine glitter he says like a fashionista—and I do.
But glitter doesn’t come off. I look out my office
window in the name of color, imagine a riddle
of cardboard cutouts. The needles on the pines
will prove difficult in setting this scene back together.
And there are still smaller things to consider,
gleaming microscopic flecks of infection.
There’s this whole planet to think about too,
where we are washing our hands 15 times a day
to save our families. This planet that we cannot see
all at once like a puzzle, this gleaming planet I live on.