for a. toliver
the flowers are wilting. the rosemary wears anger like a leather jacket. i dream: i wake up with jesus, a phone ringing down the hall. his carpentered hair tattooed at my forearm like a thickly combed joke, my moth- er’s shadow buzzing through the wire to ask about everything except the arrangement of my lovers. what i mean to tell you is,
how have you been?
the dream calls back to say:
wake up. your mother is dead. your lovers—mismanaged. in the dream jesus has your forest hair. gives you the christian name: pocahontas. he pours whiskey into a smile, asks, what of your christening? i changed the subject. saw my rosemary zip itself up from the cold. i keep mowing the lawns of these same mistakes. i once thought there was only one way to put on a pillowcase, a method to making the world grow in on itself. a friend showed me: there are two. how could i not kill him? and i meant to call you, but listened to nina simone instead. her voice pushed through the walls like honey. slow to forgive. her beehives spin themselves in my closets. i have run out of spaces—have run out of ways to change these linens.