Micah Bateman


Between us, two lights imprismed in a bottle of wine,
the smaller light murmuring in its nightstand cage
heated with the promise, the tacit compulsion,
how I read lips unmoving. Language

always an incident requiring instrument, yet
desire dangles on the terms of its own release.
We know the conceits, where it leads,
the map with teasing topography. On the back wall

a morgue's board of drawers and the crumpling
of wear to wore, that preterito bandito.
Closed captioning of skin and wool pulled over.
I know, she says, Death the process of divesting:

Easy, undeposited like toast from the slot in the box. I say
consider entrapment, the accordion curtain,
manners of affording moonlight in patterns of sine,
distilled; habitation and shelter as resign of movement.

But disease knocks her veins like opportunity.
Every smell of concession as the needle dips in,
the sullen knowledge of disintegration, blood
the mockery of wine washing wall, clotting

language to unlanguage. Of parting lips
and other things that can and can't part,
we are those among them. One only
flacks and flails in this fled time where she lives,

where a little horse must think it queer not to stop,
drink and dream. Then the penultimate question of light
between us: wine, cues, exeunts, lines of needle,
where they intersect and are consumed.

Then the question of if our limbs elude the light
or if we bow ourselves.

Micah Bateman lives in St. Louis, MO. His poems have recently appeared in 21 Stars Review and Sub-Lit.

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