I tremble
when he touches me.
The simple answer
is right out of the books,
the riddle of soft petals,
rough oak. I am the October leaf
to the branch, growing pale
with small deaths,
but the buzz of ozone and cicada
shatters my heart in
a burst, like glass
heated too quickly.
Silence fits the taste
that fills my throat
better than the words
out of the books,
or the touch of forest flowers;
misery makes
a better companion than
the misplaced forever
I have planted
in his arms;
but still I look at him
with lover’s eyes,
wounded by every absence,
the small deaths stacked up
to thousands.