i am beautiful

museum quality bone

i don’t speak of the things
that were cut away

in the garage

or hung in the closet with piano string

there are bits too
hidden in the broom’s straw

or wiped into the edge
where counter meets sink

i get what i can—

and fumes—

try to keep
that first fire burning

keep that feeling
of running towards rain

how silly are we

did you know smiles smell
oh yes, some of popcorn and jelly beans
some of fried chicken and champagne
stale ice
coach’s tobacco or a step-father’s cock
the stink of life
jutting up through everybody’s teeth
like there’s something bubbled in the gut
and it just won’t pass

survey for the damned

can you outlast the pelting

can you escape the tar

can you endure being sketched—
sit while the old man
drags coal across your page

can you survive the space
between hardened and dead

can you make it through night
without jumping into the flame

all natural zero calorie existence

i’ve found no line through the mountain

nothing to pull or fall from

live by or die on