Ἀγάπη No More
Apparently I love you, but that’s not a plan.
I walk 84 blocks and can talk to the woman
behind the counter at the place near your apartment with precision
about the kind of coffee I want, can hold the whole cup,
can remember my lips and how to find them,
but before I can drink I am a tree who has woken up
to find it has been turned into paper.
The only clean things humans make are bones.
When you lose all of your senses all the others get better,
but getting there is hard and I have rent to consider,
sainthood essentially serving as an internship in which,
because you work in love, no one ever pays.
The whole of this wicked world felt like a house party
that wouldn’t let me in, windows shaming
the snow outside with summer light.
But all that is over now because I love you,
and probably will for the next three days.
And after that death I will rise,
and after that I will love you, and so on,
until my throat fills up with autumn leaves,
and even then I will still be terrified
by your holy fire, by your eyes of fate, ouroboros gray,
and will text you things for you to bless
better than I could.
Behold stout joys of creation.
I know burning makes a better bread
and somewhere between Billing and the incinerator
is a kitchen I want to go to.
Wings of sin pulled me
into the sun’s high pen
and then their absence carried me
into the cold mouth of the ocean.
And the first thing I did upon waking in the hospital
was ask about making toast.
Every year until we wipe them from the earth
brown-tails will hang fogs on trees.
My mother would have them pierced through,
the medicine from the needle just out of reach,
maybe mixing down the iron shaft with fleeing ichor.
She’s allergic and their hair dabbed the color from her hands,
turned her skin into a beach
pocked over with lost echelons of snow.
The whole autumn after, my father watched companies roll
out of the driveway fires he’d loaded
with their silk thrones.
The moon is not enough to stop this.
The sun is not enough.
If you’re home, do me a favor:
Light a candle and watch the smoke
until its twisting curdles into moths.
COOPER WILHELM is the author of Klaatu Verata Nikto (Ghost City Press, 2016), DUMBHEART/STUPIDFACE (Siren Songs/ Fall 2017), and an as-of-yet–untitled chapbook about pigs coming out this fall from Business Bear Press. He is also the host of Into the Dark, a talk show about witchcraft on Radio Free Brooklyn and iTunes, and sends poems on postcards to strangers at PoetryAndStrangers.com. He tweets @CooperWilhelm