Take your mouth and sew it over someone else’s skin.
You learn a lot about string that way and anyway,
lowering a tongue like a marionette in a casket
can teach you a thing or two about dying.
I have one breath left and I’m learning
how to say it all at once. Autumn in Harlem, men
are burning tires. In suburbs Good Housekeeping magazines
flap askew on tablecloths. In Paris they’re learning how to sing—
salt and sex and popcorn stuck to chairs in kitchens,
tearing at milk bones with their beast teeth
and making fake wishes.
Maybe love’s no waltz but a line dance.
Swing around the next fellow who blusters in
and offer him your arm. Learn flannel shirts, memories
of every place spinning.
Take the chapped hands of the boy you love
and let them go through you. Firm white poems.
Shine a light on a dog in a thunderstorm. Learn gentleness.
Rusty evenings. Hands in pockets. To be happy
dance at weddings. Learn how to reach.
Blow the bees out their hives
and onto flowers.
Learn about stalling on paper wings,
hiding hands in sleeves.
Stand motionless with your arms in the sheets