amory blaine

you learned life the hard way

            feet bare for nearly two years

            wandering downtown, no fears

                                    spare for the premonition of a blade

                                                            puncturing           tender             flesh

in the streets, you made your bed

            keeping warm with thoughts in your head

                                                cabin nestled in a quiet wood

                                                where the horizon bleeds

color                 not                   pain

be at peace: those blue&red lights aren’t coming for you

this time, this time like the night you drank too much wine

only a boy, barely twenty, they took you in

                                    picked the innocence off your bones

                                    with pointed teeth; stripped your youth

                                    away with taxpayer’s money

amory blaine, your footprints are trails of puzzle pieces,

            attracting women as pure as city air

            cracking open your chest with allergies to alley cats

                                                stay drunk, stay in love, drown

                                      your misery in frat house orgies

           to forget, to forget the    nagging            gnawing            voices

                                    making home in the back of your head

amory blaine, by the time you met me

            your heart was Constantinople

                        impregnable      fortified            wall after wall after—

                                    don’t believe the Venetians, stay clear of the Ottomans,

                                                                             but please




amory blaine, your eyes have seen things

            but when I glanced up at you, across the table,

            at that coffee shop where the paintings belonged better in a baby’s nursery,

                        do you know what I saw?

                                    not your English teacher who caused you so much anger

                                    not the actions committed against you out of hatred

                                    not even your irises, dark-roast brown

in your


winks the specter

of the rest of

my life

dare I call that vision


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