No step goes unnoticed now, not without warning shots,
those explosive flares of reddish-orange tincture
twisted and tumbled in the wind. The jet stream
has embraced us in an autistic gesture
of comfort for the dying, the succumbing struck numb
by frost nip and the betrayal of sighs
that condense amid the air's inaction.

You've refused to bring a jacket. You pretend
you're immune to chill, complaining instead of child labor.
I scoot to the edge of the bench and bounce my legs,
pushing together a pile of the words describing medical side effects
in reassuring tones; it works in the commercials.

We have lukewarm waiting pooled between our fingers.
I'm hoping you'll be the first to jerk away. I could say,
"You spilled it all," and neglect to admit it's been
dripping through the cracks since the beginning.
You're baiting me into confessions of cheating or counting flaws or
hiding laughter behind the housplants and under the floorboards.
Actually, here's my only sin: I've been in the bathtub
making toast. So we'll sit and talk at each other
till Autumn hollows out and snow kicks in. The time

When concrete becomes glass, tears freeze against the iris,
and the sun spreads itself across the sky like apricot jam,
or I imagine at least; the clouds always land dull-side down.
We will grow hides of ice, shimmering subtly. Delightful.
Much the way a corpse's porcelain skin
radiates relief in absence.

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