helmet and how to get home


Hands under my skirt in the traffic jam.
At 11:24 PM the car isn’t where we thought we left it.
You say it’s my fault. I’m the one who should be upset.
My license and passport were in the glove compartment.

Last time we fought I went shoeless through the alleys,
fantasized that the concrete rose at me with a knife
and ripped my clothes. You came after me, yelled through a window
but what side was I on? All I remember: it was damp.

Without wheels, directions, salves,
we find asylum in bottles, bar tabs,
conjecture. Make new gods
and tip them extravagantly. Here’s how we tilt
the pendulum back, and back,
and back; strangers kissing by the bottle-necks,
bumping thighs beneath the bar lip.
Whiskey-unmoored, each step practice
for another, future step.

A man with a bike takes pity,
offers us one helmet, and how to get home. 
Another failsafe we’ve had too much of. 

Your face a red moon beaming. Sorry you left the windows down.
Inside my body I grow an ocean
thick with froth; your loose hands churning its waters,
kneading apologies into my waist. There’s still something here
I very much want to keep.

Something fierce, and wild,
like sea lions in a storm.

Tonight, please, let me be the one
to grant us passage. Slow the tide of patrons
trickling back to the vessels they came in.
Give me time to raise a shoreline, and
if we’re still alive by morning,
I’ll build a boat of sinew. Bear us back.

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