Half-Past the Devil's Hour

                                                    (after Rosa Rolando’s Autorretrato [1952])

Replay the day in an astral haze:
by the time you rise, I’m lost
within a desert tempest. It’s 3:30 A.M.
and you’ve left me dreaming behind,
parched and starving. These saguaros
are cleverly-painted totem poles,
but they can still make us bleed.
I will christen the sympathy scar
on your collarbone after a dead friend.
We’re wind-worn down to the muscle—
maybe we’re dancing bones. ¿Do you
still dance? This appeasing stray mongrel
in your recollection, at your beck
and call, will be swept off a sandstone ledge.
Look away and there will be
no guilt, no evidence of a fall.
You might be writing poems somewhere
twilit, in a stillness and quietus
of your making. Insomniac. Wilted
desert flower. Blackbird. Sadist.
That glassy grit in your eyelashes
plays you dead, plays your double life.
This is what it sounds like in your head:
a choked question, unanswered,
worth to cover your ears so not to hear
a whimper shrill over the bang, where
the cruelest cacophony is the dead air at dawn.