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Letter (Unlearning to love you ...)
oxygen (o) - first kiss
nocturnal triptych from room 116
the secret meanings of greek letters: rho (Ρ, ρ)
Digby's Soliloquy
ain't misbehavin'
I, Cassandra
Eva to Adam
Blue Madonna
between two sips of soda
Nigel's World Turns On Its Axis
the secret meanings of greek letters: delta
dialogue with a dehydrating jellyfish
alice's first session with her therapist
sodium (na) - after paradise
Letter (Unlearning to love you ...)

Gellertgasse 42
1100 Vienna

December 8, 19___

Dear L_______,

Unlearning to love you is like sucking back sand through the narrow
waist of an hourglass. I already have a desert in my throat, a desert

crossed and recrossed by words that have begun to shape my mouth:
never; again; your name. Sometimes a question slips from underneath

my tongue: Did we let it die too quickly? But we both know that death
is not bold. Death grabs what he can get, strangles his victims from

the shadows between streetlights. He chooses wisely—never anything
that will put up a fight. The end was like the beginning—a moment

we missed, the way you'd miss a landmark from the window of a train
that moves too fast, eyes aimed too high, too low until you realise

you've already gone past, and you slam down the window, crane your
neck and hear the air rush in to push all words of loss and longing

up your windpipe. There is no going back, not to a morning of soft
sunshine on unfamiliar skinscapes, not to the city where we met;

it no longer exists. Its roads have moulted, the pines shed needles
like flakes of dry skin. Everything we touched, has been touched

a thousand times since. Rapunzel's hair has fallen, again and again,
like a rope, like a ladder; the streets to her tower echo with laments.


oxygen (o) - first kiss

        in memory of sean power, drowned 2004,
        the first boy to kiss me

even before we get off on the third floor,
something's lurking behind laughter,

the familiar smell of beach half-washed
down the drains. i know the hollow sound

of knuckles on lime-green wainscoting,
but not the way it sighs against my back.

lift doors close discreetly, the hall light
clicks out. inside me, tides turn. a joke

fizzles out in whispers. your hands long
to live in my hair, like wind and sand,

the murmur of waves. cracked lips meet.
you taste of a sea so different from the

cold, determined ocean that will pour
into you one irish summer. my mouth

can't help but open. i understand the pull
of depths, the urge to dive, and dive.

one could forget that surfacing too fast,
air would cut through us like knives.

nocturnal triptych from room 116

i) denial of darkness

there is no such thing as night,
if night means a wasteland,
a beast that goes hungry

the dark that comes after sunset
whispers its surrender outside,
cheek against our window

this room with its quickened
pulse knows nothing of
blackness, of sleep

ii) the far side of night

eyes see no more
than what hands

my spine becomes
the axis of our

your lopsided face
the dark side of
the moon

my imperfect body
a garden to plant
a lily

together we breathe
into an empty

together we count
little noises like

wrapped in afterglow
limb knowing limb
we lie

iii) first light

just before sunrise,
we let sleep take us:
we no longer need to fear

the loud colours of dreams,
silence cutting through
skin, waking up cold