The Morning After

Wayne Thiebaud city river mountain 1996

Grab this sick this
Bittersweet easing out
Of animal and
Into self-ness by the scruff of its neck.
Hold it in your lap, in your lips.

It’s crystallizing, your awareness of your
Animality, aloneness
Sitting in an empty subway car maybe
Bandaging your hands with hope that you weren’t too
Giving too
Palatable too
Easily unpackaged
Peeled open and poured shouldn’t you feel victorious?
Regal? Suckersweet?
Well you are

Sugar spun in calcified spirals,
aren’t you?

It lay in the air
Two liquids when they were done
The slow separation – easy
Float of a dream dissipating
The morning after.
The settling down of that clawing mania
Released into a slurry weight for the time being
The lightness of self returns
Floats somewhere overhead.

A separation like rainbow spilled oil
On a wet pavement.
What is there to be sad about?
The finality that hung in the air and
Gathered in the shadows under his eyes, pooling
The ease of goodbye and the promise that neither would be the first
To reach
Trembling for the other’s bandaged hands?
It was there when she met him and it’s there
And here too–

In your confused pride, wide eyes
In the way he reached, pleading for you to
Wrap around him and assure him that he’s different.
In your inability to hear him over
You’re gold baby but
Men, they’ll bite into your blood to suck it from you
It’s in their nature, they’re wrapped around
A twisting lick of hunger deep inside…

You lay down wondering if
He got what he wanted or if he’d be back
For more digging; you hoped you buried
The best of you
Deep enough but then someone else said
Love is believing the other person is entirely real.

And isn’t he?


Artwork by Wayne Thiebaud, “Waterland”, 1996.


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