Cross your heart and hope to die

Your motion is a miracle;
sweet child, your wound will never heal.
Release your grip, your tight refrain,
the way the moon lies on the brain.

Leave your clothes unfolded here;
the starving tailor died last year
while gleaning back his fraying seams.
Take off your skin; disrobe to dreams.

By razor blade and rusty awl,
by garrote and by lion’s claw,
by shank, by axe, by gamma ray,
now shift, now gently shift away.

O last-year’s child, your tremble brings
a twang from all the mourning strings:
the knife has slid in to the bone
that tried to walk the last mile home.

On broken skull and swivel pin,
on black ice and on heroin
(the cue wraps ’round St. Catherine’s wheel),
step through, step lightly through the knell.

Plague Bird Alone In the Desert