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



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



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


and we call



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