Drowning Stains the Ocean Gray

                  Lord, everything I see survived,

thrived, and suffered before I was alive.

         I know you’ve tried to dull the prick

                  from claws, wash white

         the blackest feathers, sever moonbroch

from November. I’ve surrendered sleep

                  to rummage through your world,

pearled myself inside this mollusk of an earth.

         Praise be to you, or the gales

                  that scattered seeds for a chance

to grow. Do they know nothing goes to spoil,

that pulp is pressed to paper where we scribble

                  useless prayers? Do they care

that their trunks are hollow hives, and we the bees       

drowning in their honey when we die?

                  Glory be to you Father,

or those crouching amaryllis flowers ignoring

church-bells as they root themselves in Hell.

                  Gold for you or gleam for me,

whoever loved him more. I store within myself

the fever and the cure—And I need

                  so badly to believe

that you’re my God and you reside

in everything: the multiverse and empty space,

                  down to every carapace,

parasites that nurse in dust. But whenever I assuage

     my thirst, feed away my hunger, sex,

                  you leave depleted, leave me

         needing more. And whenever I apologize

for slamming heaven’s door, you raise, devise

                  another room for me a million

miles wide. And every time I say his name, you bruise  

my throat a little more. And every time

                  I start again with no one but myself

to blame, you add an and to another and,

and another and again, until you’ve derived his breath

                  with crooked calculus, plotted

and squared and added again, until you make

the man I loved appear among the dead.

                  Keep your ands and I my yets:

you can mold a simple heart to beat

in every chest, sew hair to scalp, sky to lung,

                  and make yourself another man.

Yet cuticles, cartilage, all spinal cord and spleen

will not explain his silhouette darkening

                   my fantasies. And tonsils, teeth,

spit and cum, lymph and chemicals might be all

I am, yet all the ribs and mandibles won’t make you

                  understand—he did for me

what you never will, what you never can: he drowned,

         which means he once was real; he touched

                  the gulf and every whitecap kneeled.