Charged by the nearness
of you, the sting of your breath
on my lips as you sleep
your-face-to-my-face, I am haunted

like a man in a coma. Distant
images of your body and mine entwined
rise like translucent smoke
from chimneys of empty houses.
I spend whole nights

trying to erase traces of my past. The hooks
I’ve sunk into your flesh
with a misplaced word or barbed kiss
hold fast or dig deeper

into you. Every night I
work around them when I touch you,
careful not to catch on
the barbs that still glisten

with fresh blood. Your eyes
knit dreams you refuse to remember
in the morning. When I wake
I find your thumbprints and mine

like a rosary around my throat.

Kip Knott | Mudlark No. 26
Contents | Dust