Your wooden leg stood beside the bed
in its tennis shoe & sock, trailing its fasteners,
its amputated man leaning invisibly against the wall.
You pulled back the sheet so I could touch
your stump, the small hole in your left foot.
I touched everything. I was curious. I was eighteen
& ignorant. You told me the little
you thought I could handle.
Thirty years gone since then
to wives, meth, government checks...
Last year they took a kidney
& a few inches more of your right thigh.
Your two sons were fed to a different war
& spit back out. Now
they induct the nervous teenagers of Phoenix
into the intricacies of parallel parking,
the number of feet to trail the car ahead.
You & I are a late-night phone call.
You stretch out beside your drained pool,
shirtless in the heat
with a bottle of Jack, I cradle my California wine.
When your new prosthesis topples
to the cement by the lounge chair
I try to hear
what the fallen man says
as you set him upright.
Forms of Love
I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that," when I said,
"I had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, except for this one guy.
I love you when you're not drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard and you're running from the cops,
looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the syringe
takes when you're shooting heroin, after you pull back the plunger
slightly to make sure you've hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even though
we've never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you learned in
Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis Hopper rap
from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know I could really, really love you.