The Black Earth

  1. I called my brother
  2. It started to rain
  3. We got bedbugs he said
  4. You already told me I said, you said
  5. The exterminators were coming
  6. Not til Wednesday he said
  7. Are they biting you I asked
  8. A ton he said, all over. I wanted to know
  9. What it felt like, the bites. They’re super
  10. Itchy he said but I have some what do you call it
  11. Cortaid. You have to get rid of your mattress
  12. I said, Get rid of it, and wash the sheets
  13. And everything you own, look on the internet.
  14. What’s the point of washing everything when the exterminators
  15. Are coming Wednesday he said. Wednesday
  16. Is far away I said and no matter what you have to get rid
  17. Of your mattress because you won’t be able to keep it because
  18. The bugs lay eggs in there.
  19. It rained on me in my world.
  20. Last night I saw a picture of my brother
  21. On Facebook. He was in high school and dressed
  22. For the prom, with intense dark eyes and the strong
  23. Throat of early manhood. Now he lets bugs
  24. Eat him. The lobes of his head bulge. His body
  25. Swells as he gives himself away. I let
  26. Bugs eat me in my dreams. I relate to the glamor
  27. Of certain homeless women. Glamor on which
  28. Their humanity depends, not the crutch
  29. Of common fate.
  30. His flesh is yellow gray no matter what
  31. I say. I accept to take colors
  32. To get through the day by their light.
  33. Lost women keening at me sideways
  34. On the subway to compliment my shoes
  35. Smelling of shit in an extraordinary combination of textures
  36. And prints, one gold
  37. Tooth in their heads. The way junky
  38. Ladies suck on candy canes. I could disappear
  39. Into that world forever, the one where I measure out my needs
  40. Against some evil Calvinist who knows nothing
  41. Of the armor a woman must wear. I and my jealous, narrow heart
  42. Have disappeared into that world
  43. I think about being a person to rule
  44. The internet with my finite goals
  45. And self-possession, like the false
  46. Simplicity of this. I think about the fat I want
  47. To consolidate my sorrow in this world, I want it in my ass
  48. And thighs. Wouldn’t it be nice to round out my self with whosoever’s mouth
  49. Could just pout in silence and be fair. Little simplicity
  50. If any is transmitted by me. It would be good to transmit
  51. Impossibility simply; not the same thing. I see his face
  52. Eaten by bugs and years of forcefed legal drugs
  53. As a zebra cadaver swells with rot and worms, as my heart
  54. Swells with love for what cannot
  55. Respond. If he wants to let the bugs eat his face
  56. He will let them. I stand here frankly
  57. Using my imagination, my heart
  58. In batten, not doing a thing.