So Much Will Waste, by Richard O’Brien (THE EMMA PRESS MILDLY EROTIC POETRY TOUR)


Flat on my back in a Methodist chapel
I watch a plastic bag fill up with blood. It’s mine, and next to me is you, and yours
it’s filling half as fast and twice as red. I hate to state the obvious, but baby,
we’re already lying down, and when it’s done they’ll toss them both together in a van;
we’ll never see those pints of us again, and they’re no longer ours — other men
will share you, other women me, the secrets of our hearts will whisper in the walls
of strangers’ ears. So by comparison, we’ve known each other years in this position,
since we know our bodies, young and strong, were vetted good to go. It’s all the same — our tissues sank, we both filled in the forms,
and we could brush in arteries or veins as close as passengers on rush-hour trains.
We’ll breathe and bruise, it hasn’t killed us yet; the window closing when the platelets clot is thin as plasters, fragile as the Tuc they
hand you in the blush of standing up. But this is not
the closest we could ever get to knowing how it feels
to swim across a body like a foreign cell: forget
the spinning ceiling, then, let steel mosquitoes dive towards
the wrists of noble citizens. They’ll do no harm
that we can’t heal in one another’s arms.

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