Take

12 March 2012

So take, for joy’s sake, this wild gift of mine.
This uninviting desiccated necklet
Made of dead bees that once turned honey into sunlight.
–Osip Mandelstam

Touches were newspapers
tucked and benched in Riverside.

Would I borrow from homeless men
their worn coats–bare threads

or gouge from darkened pigeons’ roosts
their salty hearts and by osmosis glide

or hold quartz second-hands?
It was obscure to me then.

Caresses were fries and battered oysters
dropped in Fulton Marketplace.

Would I pray for rags and bones
cemented in grave pools by river tides?

Brooklyn Bridge is damp and dry
but at the ends its cables are opaque.

So let me give you, for the sake of time,
these mites or lice or bedbugs

pinched from hairless hide. Take them–
white knuckles, bug scrawls,

death-defying lapses, synaptic leaps,
this dry mulch kiss–felt necklace strung with ink.

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