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The Tragic Conversion of Keith Richards

Your scalp is Japanese vellum. The weak green tea
catches the dawn light. Iím afraid to look outside -ó itís bound
to be wordy. Without conduction branches grow the song-
birdís cuttlebone. Your knees appear and disappear
like the cheeks of a brass orchestra. When I used
the champagne flute as a spyglass I noticed jets
leaking through the bruised ceiling, their motion
prompted by the barometerís paraphrase of spring.
Yesterday at the Emperorís Arboretum
you put up with the red parrotís hirrient aria
like a trooper. Must we wear handcuffs just to kiss?
In the reptile corral you spoke in seamless
heptameters. It calms the Komodo, you said,
knocking off the wrinkles in my kincob kimono
with your bare hand, dyed white, ghost white for the moon
execution. Must we wear blindfolds just to fuck?
Your belly shows signs of stilt-walking. Your mother
must have protractored our cityís famous floods, with you
laced to her raw back. Your view was departure.
I put my teeth to your ear and sing like a rusty bird.

-Peter J. Shippy (New Hampshire Review)