we practice strangled communication
shrieking in serpentine tongues that hiss white noise
like the snow on an old picture box; incomunicado even though
your breath purges on my swollen lips
you speak in Thailand and I in Rome, your words washing
shattered seashells across a blanket of
ash-dusted snow. you see a beach and I
a frozen Russian tundra draped in lattice lace

I tell you that your words weep carnations
spray-painted black, a hint of sinful scarlet seeping
through while you smear
scathing sienna across my phrases and call them
cailloux like you used to find in the dirt in
your grandmother's garden

you preach to me of liberdade wrapped in shiny silver
shackles. I show you the handcuffed prisoners of
good intentions while you smile—
bracelets, you say, it's what
everyone is wearing nowadays and then
you tell me you're afraid of heights but
I'm sure you always wanted to be a lemming

we discuss politica in the midst of sedated apathy
and you say it's left even though I know you're very right-
wing conservative


I describe the awning canyon where this
is going, a pretty penny wasted in a wishing-well; you
plummet luminous lights to prove that there's
no bottom and that it doesn't hurt if you never have
to land. you insist I'll never feel it and whisper
maite zaitut but
that doesn't mean I love you

if I told you, you wouldn't understand me anyway

Translations below.


incomunicado (Spanish): in solitary confinement
cailloux (French): pebbles
liberdade (Portuguese): freedom
politica (Italian): politics
maite zaitut (Euskara): I love you.