In the night, —night asleep, her eyes, woman,
my woman, I name her as if she is mine,
as if these hours that pass for the night belong to us;
my nights belong to the memories I can’t shake; my night
& this woman, my woman she tells me how it wasn’t
supposed to be like this. This insight another hail mary,
another haymaker. We live somewhere between almost there
& not enough. Almost there. Her dreams & all that she lost
for me is a kind of accounting. My woman, not my woman,
not this night, not these nights: the mine is less mine more
hurt. More hover than anything else. Shadowcloud.
Or as she says it, you stalked me until I submitted. Love
shapes itself to my hands wrapped round her throat. Have you
loved like that? I’ll call your PO is the thing she says,
on this night with the men I robbed still lingering, a threat
to the freedom I imagined she gave me when we became
cliche: naked, tangled. This is always about me. My truth & failure,
downfall or something. I’ve scrambled to get here, to admit
how violence called to me like my woman moans when she
thought all this was the promise of more than a funeral.
When I grabbed her like that the first time, her legs held me
tight. My woman thinking the cells in my past can make
her control this: all the ways I starve. She threatens
to call my history back as a constraint on madness.
She stared at me, Z —, once, & said she saw her brothers
doing life in my eyes. In this night, when we talk to each other,
it is in shouts. The quilt of solitary cells I’ve known confess
that my woman has never been my woman. How ownership
& want made me split that bastard’s head into a scream
is what I’ll never admit to her. What she
tells me: prison killed you my love, killed you so dead
that you’re not here now, you’re never here, you’re always.
Her eyes closed at night and I awaken and swear she
stares at me, she is saying that brown liquor owns me, saying
that the cells own me & that there is no room for her, unless
she calls the police, the state, calls upon her pistol, & sets me free.