No one has touched me for weeks
yet in this drugged, gilt afternoon, late,
when nothing is safe, I’m paralyzed,
as though so wildly desired—passing solo through the garden’s
cinnamon, marigolds, famished roses, where a matted shingle
of the swept-up human hair I begged from a local beauty shop
& spread out fruitlessly among the blooms & canes
to keep away the deer might well be a satyr
passed out in the palace’s candied gold—
that something regnant with a strange, godlike power
could not help but reach out from the umbral blue
to tap my white arm. It is a day to die,
the light autoerotic, theatrical, with an unbearable listing,
stalled in cusp, in leonine torpor. Is courage artifice?
As though to answer were within my means.
Or to even move my mouth.