He wakes up with a hand on his forehead and he tells me
he doesn't remember.
Tiger, I tell him, your name is Tiger.
Weird name, he smiles—
and he's not a predator with those hungerless claws,
those bluer eyes,
and a heart that beats on the belief that I'm his dearest,
the one who he knows and calls his love.
He doesn't sleep but does wonder
if he could find himself in the arching of my back
when I deep-exhale his name
that isn't his
and he looks at me:
the way my chest heaves when I come, the way
he lets parts of himself die in me as many times as he could
because he wants to
and he wants me
and he wants me to want him.
The cloth wipes away our sins (and burns itself)
but it doesn't clean my neck from all the times
that you've tried to feel my heartbeat
just to see if I'm alive.
You're not him, not really.
Tiger's not your name, but I want it to be—
I want to be selfish and I want to love: now and instant,
I want to be loved the way we both can and I mouth your name
and kiss you on your lips with the things you were
just vaguely and tenderly afraid
like you're a tiger.
I dream of sparrows,
and you can't ever sleep
and you turn around to tell me you're sorry.
(I'm sorry, too.)