Rough voiced men with gentle hands
fingertips split like ripe grapes traced
a line of blood along your thigh,
your own blood dried by now, the iron
taste still at the back of your throat:
salt-thirst and the dull thud of memory.
"Here," you tell them, "no here," and they comply,
yielding to the imperative of the hollow.
But each passageway proves false, over-
grown with weedy thorns and brambles
as if cursed by a fairy tale witch.
Still they blow through like a winter wind rattling
windowpanes and the tap tap tap of loose screen,
their teeth not as sharp as they imagine, but oh
they can knock you over if you aren't porous
enough to let the air hiss through.
You practice in the mirror, turning this way
and that, brushing your hair until sparks fly
and yes, your reflection begins to fade
a bit more day by ragged day until
the only thing visible are the limp towels
hung carelessly to dry after yesterday's shower
and a soft glow of red.