Heartbeats slowed down and consecutively sped up;
shipped into big, eager hands,
hazardous label carelessly torn free as one swift finger
prods the recesses of muscle, artery and delicately strung vein with meticulous care
—a surgeon of the emotionally destitute.
"I've never seen so many walls. You're lucky
to be alive." I laughed; he didn't know about the space between
living and surviving—but he had dry palms, wide enough
to enclose me and invite sleep on the soft callus of his index.
He fumbled with the spongy lobe of my ear and explained the history
behind each raised rib of pink scattered throughout his arms—some still too fresh to touch.
I wanted him to stay healed. I had plenty of broken to pass around,
but stability came in short supply; little slivers in a bottle labelled "DO NOT SHARE"
better than slow-me-downs or lift-me-ups; better than xxx or moonshine;
better than all the soap and hot water in the world. Shadows pass behind his teeth
and make their way to the sharp edge of his chin, he shakes his head and they fall
trampled by hurried feet occupied with the present.