I have a sickness, a parasite,
and pollen strings come out of my fingertips
like they came out of the red
rhododendron flowers I picked yesterday.
I desperately want my lover, but
she isn't here.
Pennies on her eyes, she cries colorful
tears, like paint
or like the window-glass Mother who weeps
red and yellow in the rain.

I walk with Marcus in a windy,
dusty wasteland, time and sand
flowing in red ribbons from the rusted
debris of a ruined city,
cars and bones.
Marcus cuts his arm and I lift it
to my mouth.
His blood doesn't taste like mine,
more vinegar than salt, more acid than iron.

I see a pale woman with black
hair and a wide mouth, screaming
a hellish horse-scream.
I feel the tense of the coiled
red-muscle flanks of cat-beasts, shadowed,
but I'm safe
in the lamplight on the street.

There are people sitting at my favorite
table in the Red Lounge, and they tell me,
"Hookah smoking isn't for ladies."