your body is a home i’ll never return to

Exile
Jeffrey McDaniel

Mathematicians still don’t understand
the ball our hands made, or how
your electrocuted grandparents made it possible
for you to light my cigarettes with your eyes.
It isn’t as simple as me climbing in your window
to leave six ounces of orange juice
and a donut by the bed, or me becoming the sand you dug
your toes in, on the beach when you wished
to hide them from the sun and the fixed eyes
of strangers, and your breaths broke in waves over my earlobe,
tingling, splashing through my head, spilling
out over the opposite lobe, and my first poems
under your door in the unshaven light of dawn.

Your eyes remind me of a brickwall
about to be hammered by a drunk
driver. I’m that driver. All night
I’ve thought about you in the bar.

Once I kissed the scar, stretching
its sealed eyelid along your inner arm, dried
the raining strands of hair, full of pheromone,
and discovered all your idiosyncratic passageways
so I’d know where to run if the cops came.
Your body is a home I’ll never return to.
The man in charge of what crosses my mind
is gonna lose his fingernails
for not turning you away at the border,
but at this moment when sweat pours from me and
blame is as meaningless as shooting-up a cow with milk,
I realize: my kisses filled the hall of your body
with smoke, and the lies came
like a season, and most drunks don’t die in accidents
they orchestrate, and I swallowed
a hand grenade that never stops exploding.

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