What I liked about being sixteen
was that my whole body was an erogenous zone.
The mirage of starvation was all
over me, the stains of your eye paint
on my hipbones in wet
incandescent smears of lapis lazuli—
jackals could eat the flesh from my sides
and I would constantly be reborn.

It didn’t take your necrogenetic lips to raise me,
your perfect tongue.
The night cut open my mouth like an adze.
The wind spat perfume into my eyes.
My secret name punctured into bloom
(quicker than a greyhound and swifter than light).

But that body is only a thin mummy now,
dried and wrapped in old bandages,
and the one I’ve been using
would only lie on you to keep from limping.
I would run off you like steak blood from a cutting board,
dirty your sheets . . .
and you would keep replacing them with white,
pricking your hooded eyes into me
(latter-day whore of the Pharaohs),
busying yourself in the swamps
with the complications of my disassembly,
petitioning prehistorically indifferent crocodiles
with the episodes of your perdition.

If they lose all of me,
you will take a golden cock from your purse
and set it on my tomb,
so when you come mourning,
I can always keep it up for you,
commission the launch of your one-eyed godling
and your brutal 80 years of war
seduced from my dust.

You always had designs on an enthronement
that could fertilize your appetites.

What I liked about being sixteen
was that I could shiver with life inside you
(rain shocks in the pond growing),
then curl up like a tiny seahorse
in the Nile that flowed from your thighs
without any knowledge that
we spend the rest of our lives
building big enough graves.

[see note on this poem]