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Aubade: The Monday Bargain

by Patrick Rosal

  • If only to be still If only an hour
  • If only your bare leg touching mine
  • If only one window’s worth of light off the cold bricks to warm us
  • If only our stank morning breath If just to kiss your eyes
  • If just that and nothing more
  • If only the wicked hiss of wind to rattle the steel door in its jamb
  • If only the gentle stirring of gray water If only to dip my hands wrist deep in it
  • If only another history written without the color of your skin
  • If only skin and no more
  • If only to lie down in a room of vaulted dark sealed so tight you become the dream inside the skull of some ancient being or one not yet born among rows of cane and guns laid down for good
  • If only the smell of denim and sex If only to exile sadness
    and if only for now
  • If only the thick tendons of one burly husband’s neck
  • If only blisters and bloody wood
  • If only the heart bulged by kick drum and bass
  • If only the names we craft from sadness
  • If only the names we scratch out And if only we shout instead
  • If only the children coming If only their first curse If only their final sky first clear
  • If only one man to hear his dead wife’s voice If only one to raise a goddamned good big glass of tequila and just one milagro to burn his throat back to baritone and raw silk
  • If only this and nothing less
  • If only poems like roaches crawling into the rooms of your childhood If only nothing to kill them
  • If just drawn grids and digits and hooks and if only the several minds they make sane
  • If only vast black mirrors cast far over the city at night
  • If only the gods we push up into them — their arms full of our best gifts If only a way for them to restore love where we’ve ruined it
  • Not here My sweetest name Not here in our bed in early morning where we wake slow to tell each other we’ve dreamed of things that cannot kill us that only fill us to our thumbs with laughter
  • If only laughter If only one brief burst of it If only the last monster to tumble out of my mouth
  • If only the stampeded garlands of dead kings If only empires and their engineers If only their serpentine mosaic paths If only the horses who shat freely on those paths marching
  • If only the garments of slaves only the seamstress of burlap only a chorus of secrets passed from mouth to mouth in a silo or boathouse or subway tunnel
  • If only that and nothing more than a wish to slip into the most mundane mysteries of the day
  • As if the day and the mystery of the day can only end at twilight
  • as if we couldn’t open up our whole bodies
  • so that another century might begin.


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