The worst I got on a tar roof, mid-July with a bottle
of baby oil and no sunscreen. The white rush
of an afternoon outlined by airline exhaust. Days later
I had Chris peel the skin off my back in sheets,
and it must have looked a butchery. An intimacy.
Others: lakeside, on a dock, the smell of smoke
hanging over the water, or the day spent hiking the Devil’s
Thumb, Chris and I steeped in our own salt, a day
I wanted to push through his pores to get to the heavier
alkalines underneath. That open-air concert
when I was seventeen, the music caught up in
the visible spangle. Yard work. Street fairs.
First time on the bald spot now large enough to be
vulnerable. When I die, I want for a moment to feel
light pass through me. The sear of it, sizzle,
then to push on through. Through a memory
of burning leaves, maggots and beetles taken
with the goldfinch’s breast, the exceptional smell
of pine, the lone needle caught in a single strand
of web, the gathering of dust about the house
as Chris, or another lover, or another, paces, rights
the frame, squares the earthen pot, takes dried
heads of marigolds between his fingers, reseeding.