Thumb Ring

At first we are all crimes; a million cells,

a million disasters, damning our

accusatory conclusions.

-

We damn the tongues that carve us

like thumb rings - the beginning

and the end (conclude) on the same

battleground.

-

The same round shapes; like an eye,

your thigh - and my thigh.

-

In the end, we are one body, huddled

in the corner waiting for the sky to fall

but until then your arm shelters my

breast and my womb -

-

I belong to no one, except for you.

-

And your kisses on my neck take the shape of prayer

beads; each kiss another prayer and I keep

them all in mind (like Nicole taught me) while

you touch,

-

and touch,

-

and touch.

-

I use my tongue to strum along on my guitar

to the Diva's techno impressions;

she seals them onto the wall with kisses

and cherry flavored Gods

(the shapes her lips take)

disarm us -

she harms the silence of us.

-

If you're a disease, then I'm dying of you.

-

And -

-

if blood is a landmark; then I've already walked the earth.

-

We joke about the tenacious Catholic girl,

and the impractical Jewish boy -

all lost incarnations of yourselves

skins we've shed that make about

as much sense as the gun in our

faces.

-

My grandfather fought the war

that liberated your grandfather;

I'm sure that if they were both

still alive they would break

bread over our matching thumb rings.

-

As you seep into my soul;

-

at first you grab my mind and then you grab my body.

-

And as we become the conclusion, the crime

played out (like the circle) I say:

-

My father really died that morning when

I was twelve and I found him shaking over

the kitchen sink, naked, with the 911 operator

on the other side of my ear.

-

'Is he breathing?' - 'He's moving!'

There was nothing there.

-

And you pull my ring off - turquoise, and

it wrinkles my eyes; I fold in on myself

like a love letter,

-

sealed in the shape of a heart by the Diva's

pre-maddona kisses. I taught her to pray to our lady,

like I'll teach our agnostic daughters whom, like

their mother, will rebel.

-

I kissed your lips pale purple in the car, but the

shadows in the backseat were pulling at the ends

of my hair slowly; they cut methodically. They

know that my hair is the only way I recognize

myself in the mirror anymore.

-

And she sings; the melody, of calamity - it's

only a matter of time, you joke (between gunshots)

before the crime comes to a halt.

-

Before it ends. Before you start listening.

-

I've made a space for you,

I have a taste for you.

-

We damn the tongues that carve us

like lanterns; under the light where the air

is so thin it burns my lungs -

-

under the glare where my jittery bones aren't

just a casualty of the weather, but something

more serious (the pain in my heart) is just a

flutter, nothing more

-

then the gunshot. The ring, everything

has its unwanted place, in this unwanted

race of excommunicated theologians.

-

The study goes as follows: The heistis a

hell of a lot closer to Jesus Christ then

your bedtimes stories would have you believe.

-

We both talk to God in the spotlight of

each other - we understand the symbols

better when our hands form circles.

-

Nicole taught me to reawaken my sisters

from the cracks they've slit themselves through -

little lines in the floorboards. Little poems

who reference my name and the games

we played together as children.

-

They are not dead; just sleeping in between

the seconds that befell the gunshot.

-

The Diva is the only beautiful thing in the room,

I don't want to look at her, or listen,

-

but you seem ... immersed. Cursed. The crime

is almost complete.

-

We all start out as first kisses, or passion, or rape,

or just another illusion, just another man, and

just another woman - we call

mother

and we call

father.

-

We are crimes like the curls of their toes;

all goodly girls must be prepared to die.

All goodly girls must be angels,

and all honorable men must be animals.

-

(I'm proud of my ape ancestors!)

-

I'm proud.

-

(After it's all over)

they lay our thumb rings over our eyes

so they can be sure

that we're truly blind to everything around

us.