At the back of a bar in Cleveland
one Sunday night, a man put down
his beer and told me he couldn’t
believe in the Apocalypse anymore.
His lips were calloused and thin, clinging
to his teeth, the color of jaundice.
They curled into a smile, and dimples
perched themselves off the smile’s tips.
When I asked him why he couldn’t believe
anymore, the dimples sank into his cheeks.
My heart is full of poetry,
you told me once, in some
writers’ workshop. If I cut
my breast, my blood would
pool in the shapes of letters,
the forms of lines. You’d find
my dried-up body and verses
would have formed all around me.
When you did die, you hadn’t
lost a drop of blood. You didn’t
have a cut, and I didn’t find you
dead. I never saw you dead
because your casket door was
locked, and no one even uttered
a rhyme at your wake, your funeral,
or your graveside.
I do, sometimes, put my hand
across my chest and feel a rhythm,
buh-dum buh-dum buh-dum, and I
ignore it. This poem has no rhythm,
no beat. I shed no blood and I bare
no scars, like you.