Awaken, Yellow Chamber

At 33, a man grows fat amid the crabgrass. Watch him
dangle his hat from a broken branch.
Watch him dangle, Hang Man.
He is in initials. He is in cahoots
with owls and ghosts, tree tumors, and the river
brimming, nearly flooded over,
brightening, brightening,

Follow him to the stuck carousel in an open field.
To all the matrons, all the slow blue cows of daylight.
Consider all the ponds and the roofs they'll bear
in winter. Consider the evensong
and ice. Consider the bloodsuckers on a full-blooded man.

The science of sacrifice is the same anywhere.
Take two objects side by side; ignore their differences.
That thresh approaches thrash is not beside the point.

There is no sign of life here, but the sound of knocking.
Ulna against radius. Socket to socket.
O your wrist
and what it supplies in ink: time and numbers, a yellowed page.

At 33, translucent winters, the beckoning of scrims.
Cain with a hand over his forehead tries to obscure his mark.
That he could be any man is not beside the point.

He sits with a make-shift ouija under the painted lamp.
Wet bowl on milk-glass tabletop. Feather fingers.
In the afternoon, he eats figs and sesame seeds and waits for a sign.

At 33, you will follow any drops
of blood down the boulevard.
To return to a courtyard, to return to the bunker beneath the bridge,
to a yellow chamber draped in yellow voices.

You will hammer through the glass cases of
childhood monarchs pinned by the black of their wings.
You will hum with the jars, wet at the lips, touched by human hands.
And set about to build a tower: mattresses tied together with rope.

*Published in Conduit