Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Psalms; hominal

Psalms; hominal
Photograph via flickr by Nono Zobel

from where i’m standing,
your lips are a violin:
i want to say da capo & toss
my head to my shoulder blades,
but the room is not kind.
i see the ceiling, a spackled sky
shifting from white to closed.

perhaps, the music of the room is less string,
more open mouth. more
take this pubis & ruin your teeth. say
lento & remember the black backs of knees.
& throats. & insides of lips.
it’s not too cold to expose myself
to everything in the room:

            black marble table on all fours, a silver wire around its temple
            moonlight milking darkened skin
            cluster of dust catching wind above the fireplace
            blanket, unfurled, shed, atop the couch

i watch the ceiling—come sopra
the melody i hear is from yesterday—
“are you that somebody” by aaliyah—
& i inhale the baby’s wail,
let the wail topple this air, this air a psalm.
your lips a violin:


i never speak. i nod when you say coda.
& the room rifts into a field,
tv drowning the corner. your body’s shadow oblong,
splashed against the rim of walls.

we meet:
not where the walls kiss, where walls lip
bis.      bis.      bis.
everything seems simple until i remember the ceiling.
your mouth. then singing.


there’s abuse. & there’s abuse.
             first, the hands of the thing.

the nailed digits. everything an aperture. everything
a dead animal. the latter.

touching. or grazing.
the couch-skirt against concrete.

where the walls mate.
how the bathroom door wings.

             a loose tooth in a child’s mouth.

i watch my reflection in the sliding door.
             a dead animal.
i watch my mouth crane.
my throat plucking sounds.

nothing is allowed
to touch me.   only hands.
                         only the heave of hands.

nothing wants to touch me.
             lights flood the hallway.

see the skin
unearthing.     a tired fabric.

see the hand meeting my spine,
everything meaning slay.

or break me. or quiet down.
something about skinned alive.

when to bleed, when to bleed.

something close to human.
not the hand. but the hand

everything in flight.

what’s left of sounds finds the bathroom.
             becomes a graveyard.

i become the couch.
not an angel. or the offspring of hands.

& the room sleeps. seeps something