Talking To Him

I can’t call it chat;
seems to light, too free-
and it wasn’t but

it was good
in a self-searching way
that I wasn’t prepared for
or aware of until
skin was already peeling
away in painful strips,
bloodless yet weeping-

I felt them fall,
drifting in dry and dusty piles
beneath my anonymous desk
somewhere in river town
and I wanted to
gather them up-

stick them back
to my naked self, shivering
and unprotected,
weak and wanting.

idle words bared me
like a lover couldn’t
like a confessor might
like a surgeon skilled at the craft-

and voices screamed
from the opened wounds
voices with names that can’t
be counted, faces that won’t be gone.
Their tongues scrape my edges,
dig furrows through the bone yards
that carry my weight-

and I stumble,
I tire, I wonder
will it always be the same.

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