Your whisper rustling paper
Cardboard and burlap, fat pink marks
running down both arms. Satin ribbons
and woolly twine, honey dipped in lace.
My wife. Socks bunched around your ankles.
Necklace of snake vertebrae coiled
around your wrist. I ask you where you got it
and you say a man with an apple cart
gave it to you. I look at the watch
you gave me for Christmas years ago.
Its strap is broken, held together with
a safety pin. The Tree of Knowledge
was actually the Tree of Time
and a hissing salesman sold Eve
the first watch, which she gave to Adam
as an anniversary gift. He just bought her
another set of lacy fig leaf lingerie.
Ever since then, you've clung to my back
while something clings to your back
and something else clings to that thing's back
and so on and so on. You scatter strands
here and there, hoping someone will gather them up
and braid them together but no one does.
Hair sprouts from the cracks when you laugh.
What worm burrows beneath your skin,
pushing to get out? What is that itch?
What is that thing inside you wanting to hatch,
ticking and ticking just like