ode to flea market strapless


after alexander li

before we knew not to spill our new faces
             into the streets where the children flock like 

feathers starved for a match.  before the burning
             in all our homes stayed inside our bodies 

where our lifetimes chatter – stag goddess, train-
             spotter, upright-bass player.  the way it 

sounds like a bad joke, how one minute there’s three
             of us laughing at the bar & the next dad’s hands 

done with this, with me, turn on himself & fire twice.  
             before your kiss, now every black-blue meteor 

falling from my mouth.  before red satin everywhere.  
             before i had faith in another faith.  where jesus 

is a redhead & kisses like death.  hucks stones
             into the river until one flies & never stops.  this 

he’ll christen with lightning before the prayer b/c
             nowadays how do you find beauty in ordinary things 

without something sharp.  before strapless. 
             before wild thing.  o, how small you were 

to make these crooked arms into the river shadow.  
             into goddess of rusted pipe.  into ripped satin glory.  

into slow crawl of water melting stone in the forest.  
             into lullaby my arched waist.  into glory through 

split face.  into glory.  where are you now, o wild thing.  
             into glory.  where are you now when i need you most.