The Limits

We took the cherry ends
            of cigarettes, ground holes
into our forearms, howled at an

erstwhile moon. The liquid you
            poured into your mouth became
clearer, more potent. Every

biddie was looking to age
            well between the blows, trained
in the art of bristling hackles

those last hours of same
            turf friendly-fire.
This is the anniversary of one

event or another—callous
            presumption: death or wedding
all involve analogous pageantry,

all require some forking over,
            sympathy or dowry— a dance,
a chant-recessional, bull-blush

and pallor come in time. Ticking
            along in rhythm to a ratchet
strap I learned how to remove my

own shell shrapnel, I’ve dredged
            enough vitriol from punch
to know that I’m not welcome

here, this is the season to hunch,
            shiver, snort oneself back to life.