The bear who holds the cluster of my organs
gives the string a tug
and I wake, opening the windows
to let a little air marry my parch.
The bear floats around my cavity
like pollen. He says wee.
It kills me when he does that
and when you’re on the porch
in a shirt, eating a few chapters
of an orange, unfazed
by the declarative thud of new phone books.
Most porches outlast us.
This makes me take a drink
of water whenever
you cough in your sleep.
I used to think I was nervous
but realize now I shimmer
like headlights on a distant car
approaching from the north
and cars are never nervous,
no matter how loud the radio.
The crickets sound like an old Chrysler
with a bad wheel. I don’t want to know
a world where the crickets sound
like a Chrysler after a tune-up.
Your moans would collapse
off the branches like science
class skeletons during an earthquake.
I can’t trust a breeze like you
do. I flap like dilapidated siding in a storm.
It’s exhausting. I’m seeing someone about it.
That’s what humans call diving
into a room of wind
for an hour. I know you
don’t understand that or when
I declare you Earth’s greatest bird
because you eschew the frill of song for grunt.
This morning, with its pancake headache,
the water called to me with the salt of accepting
this Patrick I’m crammed into,
a fearful continent of syllables
watching her slide in, swallowed by it,
before floating between my legs,
resurfacing, and climbing on my back.
Her weight on mine in that weightlessness
the closest I’ll come to flight,
which isn’t close at all,
but my dial found the wave,
our song returned to air,
and we laughed at your food’s
dumbfounded swivel back into the invisible
before returning to our room to imitate it.
PATRICK CULLITON is the author of Sam’s Teeth.