Judith of Holofernes on Assignment in the Heartland

The bed is crowded with heartbeats,

adrenaline’s frayed blankets up to the neck.

It’s like this all night, some nights.

The sky relaxes its throat at sunrise.

Sweet-heat? Sweet-heart? calls the bird.

The sound of a blade sharpening, or a broken swing

hanging on its one hook.

Between the birth-stained mattresses, hid

a Damascene blade, crooked

as his cock,

using his own weapons against him.

If you’re looking for violence

the song says you can always find it in a girl.

Does this make me just like my enemy?

If I had a photographic opportunity with a dozen of you naked,

would I light my cigarette and point and say click?

I see you under the collapsing pergola,

weighed down by concord grapes.

You fire up the grill. Hot coals glow.

In the backyard the Burlington roars,

sparks the dark along the railroad tracks,

shakes the house like a second coming.

Sun goes down in the yard

under a sidereal dome of sky.

Cherries and plums drop.

Did you ever sort of forget you’re you?

Which one of us is it?

Now you swing by your own hair in my fist.