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23. [untitled]



Who is to say that this is not everything?


I.

Driving across the Bay at 8 a.m., we feel 
the strain of less than six hours of sleep,
as if we are those steel columns holding up
a corporate logo near the wetlands preserve. 

II.

Several times a week, at one restaurant or another,
we dine off the blood cash of his work, hard-earned,
(in part from the military, buying missile systems);
guiltless, we eat like the rotund Chinese deities.

III.

Our heated debates, carried out like war crime trials,
are over nothing of much consequence; yet they loom 
like the shadow of a hawk over rabbits, the 
peaceful tokei, pounding rice cakes on the moon. 

IV.

With wet towels, he gently cleans my private skin, 
ridden by an imbalance of natural bacteria; while I bring 
fresh water and medicines for his cold, despite 
his suspicion of drugs and the medical establishment.

V.

Through digital games, we combat each other 
as otherworld titans, while profuse bloodshed 
draws gasps from the virtual audience, and 
fireballs, spinning blades, and kicks fly.

VI.
 
Thrilled at driving through the bridge toll 
without paying, in the carpool lane, we feel 
like thieves as we speed past the half-mile
line, crawling like an arduous centipede. 

VII.
 
During occasional episodes of love-making, I am 
like a wary she-wolf come to parley, or perhaps 
a praying mantis, prone to biting his head off 
after intercourse, despite intentions of intimacy. 



VIII.

Tug-of-wars between packages and bags, we always 
struggle to carry more than the other, in hopes of 
asserting our domination of air or earth, cycling 
through twelve years, the dragon and the tiger. 

IX.
 
Sickening carnival rides are operated by a man
who cackles while passengers scream and beg 
for cessation; afterwards, he smokes while 
I lie on the sun-warmed curb, feeling ill. 

X.
 
Midafternoons, we nap on the "bed of death", 
lazy tangle of arms, clothes, legs, and sheets;
his hair like a bundle of seaweed, at night
his moon face, the patterns of light and dark.

XI.
 
Tropical vacation, wanted by neither but done 
for the other; we bathe in cove water and feast 
on delicious Thai cuisine between arguments, like 
a knee with too little ligament, the bones rub. 

XII.
 
Stares quietly absorb the details of viruses and 
how they can change cells in the cervix to cancer,
spreading into the uterus; how I could return again
and again, to feel dizzy and sick after each operation.

 
And driving, always driving, crossing the distance between us. 



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