Bottles of Florida water on a green velvet vantage point
gurgle and mutter, chattering in the dim red light
reflected over deep polished prayer beads snaking
around a pair of black silk gloves, cuff and placket
pressed flat around the glittering jet that used to clasp
a tiny wrist close. Over the cinnamon and orange,
dust and flowers, sorrow and time,
the swamp presses in hard, or is it just
the dark-green smell of a vase left unattended?
Prim petal edges singed brown,
papyrus-weight roses, pollen dropping at a breath,
a golden dust laid on you, heavier than any sin
on your hand. Light the cigarette from the pillar candle
and pour out red dirt in a pretty pattern,
press it into swirling spirals as prayer goes up in shifting smoke,
laddered in the wet air, blue or grey, as indecisive
as any of the thoughts swimming behind your eyes,
flickering silverbacked eels I can catch, easy as anything.
Don't look at me directly.
Reach into the bottom drawer there and take it out,
what you don't know can still cut you. Watch the edge.
Listen to the drumbeat of your heart,
and strike fast. Sketch the truth in blood
and rum, sing out. Ink and hot peppers,
corn liquor and woe. Tear the laces off and run,
little girl, run. Don't you look back,
'less you like salt.